BICEP3 is a 520mm aperture on-axis refracting telescope observing the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at 95GHz in search of the B-mode signal originating from in ationary gravitational waves. BICEP3's focal plane is populated with modularized tiles of antenna-coupled transition edge sensor (TES) bolometers. BICEP3 was deployed to the South Pole during 2014-15 austral summer and has been operational since. During the 2016-17 austral summer, we implemented changes to optical elements that lead to better noise performance. We discuss this upgrade and show the performance of BICEP3 at its full mapping speed from the 2017 and 2018 observing seasons. BICEP3 achieves an order-of-magnitude improvement in mapping speed compared to a Keck 95GHz receiver. We demonstrate 6.6μK√s noise performance of the BICEP3 receiver.
Targeting faint polarization patterns arising from Primordial Gravitational Waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background requires excellent observational sensitivity. Optical elements in small aperture experiments such as Bicep3 and Keck Array are designed to optimize throughput and minimize losses from transmission, reflection and scattering at millimeter wavelengths. As aperture size increases, cryostat vacuum windows must withstand larger forces from atmospheric pressure and the solution has often led to a thicker window at the expense of larger transmission loss. We have identified a new candidate material for the fabrication of vacuum windows: with a tensile strength two orders of magnitude larger than previously used materials, woven high-modulus polyethylene could allow for dramatically thinner windows, and therefore significantly reduced losses and higher sensitivity. In these proceedings we investigate the suitability of high-modulus polyethylene windows for ground-based CMB experiments, such as current and future receivers in the Bicep/Keck Array program. This includes characterizing their optical transmission as well as their mechanical behavior under atmospheric pressure. We find that such ultra-thin materials are promising candidates to improve the performance of large-aperture instruments at millimeter wavelengths, and outline a plan for further tests ahead of a possible upcoming field deployment of such a science-grade window.
Bicep Array is the newest multi-frequency instrument in the Bicep/Keck Array program. It is comprised of four 550mm aperture refractive telescopes observing the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at 30/40, 95, 150 and 220/270 GHz with over 30,000 detectors. We present an overview of the receiver, detailing the optics, thermal, mechanical, and magnetic shielding design. Bicep Array follows Bicep3's modular focal plane concept, and upgrades to 6" wafer to reduce fabrication with higher detector count per module. The first receiver at 30/40GHz is expected to start observing at the South Pole during the 2019-20 season. By the end of the planned Bicep Array program, we project 0.002 ⪅ σ(r) ⪅ 0.006, assuming current modeling of polarized Galactic foreground and depending on the level of delensing that can be achieved with higher resolution maps from the South Pole Telescope.
Bicep Array is a cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization experiment that will begin observing at the South Pole in early 2019. This experiment replaces the five Bicep2 style receivers that compose the Keck Array with four larger Bicep3 style receivers observing at six frequencies from 30 to 270GHz. The 95GHz and 150GHz receivers will continue to push the already deep Bicep/Keck CMB maps while the 30/40GHz and 220/270GHz receivers will constrain the synchrotron and galactic dust foregrounds respectively. Here we report on the design and performance of the Bicep Array instruments focusing on the mount and cryostat systems.
BICEP3, the latest telescope in the BICEP/Keck program, started science observations in March 2016. It is a 550mm aperture refractive telescope observing the polarization of the cosmic microwave background at 95 GHz. We show the focal plane design and detector performance, including spectral response, optical efficiency and preliminary sensitivity of the upgraded BICEP3. We demonstrate 9.72 μKCMB√s noise performance of the BICEP3 receiver.
BICEP3 is a small-aperture refracting cosmic microwave background (CMB) telescope designed to make sensitive polarization maps in pursuit of a potential B-mode signal from inflationary gravitational waves. It is the latest in the Bicep/Keck Array series of CMB experiments located at the South Pole, which has provided the most stringent constraints on inflation to date. For the 2016 observing season, BICEP3 was outfitted with a full suite of 2400 optically coupled detectors operating at 95 GHz. In these proceedings we report on the far field beam performance using calibration data taken during the 2015-2016 summer deployment season in situ with a thermal chopped source. We generate high-fidelity per-detector beam maps, show the array-averaged beam profile, and characterize the differential beam response between co-located, orthogonally polarized detectors which contributes to the leading instrumental systematic in pair differencing experiments. We find that the levels of differential pointing, beamwidth, and ellipticity are similar to or lower than those measured for Bicep2 and Keck Array. The magnitude and distribution of Bicep3’s differential beam mismatch – and the level to which temperature-to-polarization leakage may be marginalized over or subtracted in analysis - will inform the design of next-generation CMB experiments with many thousands of detectors.
Bicep3 is a 520mm aperture, compact two-lens refractor designed to observe the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at 95 GHz. Its focal plane consists of modularized tiles of antenna-coupled transition edge sensors (TESs), similar to those used in Bicep2 and the Keck Array. The increased per-receiver optical throughput compared to Bicep2/Keck Array, due to both its faster f=1:7 optics and the larger aperture, more than doubles the combined mapping speed of the Bicep/Keck program. The Bicep3 receiver was recently upgraded to a full complement of 20 tiles of detectors (2560 TESs) and is now beginning its second year of observation (and first science season) at the South Pole. We report on its current performance and observing plans. Given its high per-receiver throughput while maintaining the advantages of a compact design, Bicep3- class receivers are ideally suited as building blocks for a 3rd-generation CMB experiment, consisting of multiple receivers spanning 35 GHz to 270 GHz with total detector count in the tens of thousands. We present plans for such an array, the new "BICEP Array" that will replace the Keck Array at the South Pole, including design optimization, frequency coverage, and deployment/observing strategies.
Searching for evidence of inflation by measuring B-modes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization at degree angular scales remains one of the most compelling experimental challenges in cosmology. BICEP2 and the Keck Array are part of a program of experiments at the South Pole whose main goal is to achieve the sensitivity and systematic control necessary for measurements of the tensor-to-scalar ratio at σ(r) ~0:01. Beam imperfections that are not sufficiently accounted for are a potential source of spurious polarization that could interfere with that goal. The strategy of BICEP2 and the Keck Array is to completely characterize their telescopes' polarized beam response with a combination of in-lab, pre-deployment, and on-site calibrations. We Sereport the status of these experiments, focusing on continued improved understanding of their beams. Far-field measurements of the BICEP2 beam with a chopped thermal source, combined with analysis improvements, show that the level of residual beam-induced systematic errors is acceptable for the goal of σ(r) ~ 0:01 measurements. Beam measurements of the Keck Array side lobes helped identify a way to reduce optical loading with interior cold baffles, which we installed in late 2013. These baffles reduced total optical loading, leading to a ~ 10% increase in mapping speed for the 2014 observing season. The sensitivity of the Keck Array continues to improve: for the 2013 season it was 9:5 μK _/s noise equivalent temperature (NET). In 2014 we converted two of the 150-GHz cameras to 100 GHz for foreground separation capability. We have shown that the BICEP2 and the Keck Array telescope technology is sufficient for the goal of σ(r) ~ 0:01 measurements. Furthermore, the program is continuing with BICEP3, a 100-GHz telescope with 2560 detectors.
Bicep3 is a 550 mm-aperture refracting telescope for polarimetry of radiation in the cosmic microwave background at 95 GHz. It adopts the methodology of Bicep1, Bicep2 and the Keck Array experiments | it possesses sufficient resolution to search for signatures of the inflation-induced cosmic gravitational-wave background while utilizing a compact design for ease of construction and to facilitate the characterization and mitigation of systematics. However, Bicep3 represents a significant breakthrough in per-receiver sensitivity, with a focal plane area 5x larger than a Bicep2/Keck Array receiver and faster optics (f=1:6 vs. f=2:4). Large-aperture infrared-reflective metal-mesh filters and infrared-absorptive cold alumina filters and lenses were developed and implemented for its optics. The camera consists of 1280 dual-polarization pixels; each is a pair of orthogonal antenna arrays coupled to transition-edge sensor bolometers and read out by multiplexed SQUIDs. Upon deployment at the South Pole during the 2014-15 season, Bicep3 will have survey speed comparable to Keck Array 150 GHz (2013), and will signifcantly enhance spectral separation of primordial B-mode power from that of possible galactic dust contamination in the Bicep2 observation patch
The inflationary paradigm of the early universe predicts a stochastic background of gravitational waves which would generate a B-mode polarization pattern in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at degree angular scales. Precise measurement of B-modes is one of the most compelling observational goals in modern cosmology. Since 2011, the Keck Array has deployed over 2500 transition edge sensor (TES) bolometer detectors at 100 and 150 GHz to the South Pole in pursuit of degree-scale B-modes, and Bicep3 will follow in 2015 with 2500 more at 100 GHz. Characterizing the spectral response of these detectors is important for controlling systematic effects that could lead to leakage from the temperature to polarization signal, and for understanding potential coupling to atmospheric and astrophysical emission lines. We present complete spectral characterization of the Keck Array detectors, made with a Martin-Puplett Fourier Transform Spectrometer at the South Pole, and preliminary spectra of Bicep3 detectors taken in lab. We show band centers and effective bandwidths for both Keck Array bands, and use models of the atmosphere at the South Pole to cross check our absolute calibration. Our procedure for obtaining interferograms in the field with automated 4-axis coupling to the focal plane represents an important step towards efficient and complete spectral characterization of next-generation instruments more than 10000 detectors.
The Bicep2 and Keck Array experiments are designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on angular scales of 2-4 degrees (ℓ = 50–100). This is the region in which the B-mode signal, a signature prediction of cosmic inflation, is expected to peak. Bicep2 was deployed to the South Pole at the end of 2009 and is in the middle of its third year of observing with 500 polarization-sensitive detectors at 150 GHz. The Keck Array was deployed to the South Pole at the end of 2010, initially with three receivers—each similar to Bicep2. An additional two receivers have been added during the 2011-12 summer. We give an overview of the two experiments, report on substantial gains in the sensitivity of the two experiments after post-deployment optimization, and show preliminary maps of CMB polarization from Bicep2.
Between the BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments, we have deployed over 1500 dual polarized antenna coupled bolometers
to map the Cosmic Microwave Background’s polarization. We have been able to rapidly deploy these detectors because
they are completely planar with an integrated phased-array antenna. Through our experience in these experiments, we
have learned of several challenges with this technology- specifically the beam synthesis in the antenna- and in this paper
we report on how we have modified our designs to mitigate these challenges. In particular, we discus differential steering
errors between the polarization pairs’ beam centroids due to microstrip cross talk and gradients of penetration depth in the
niobium thin films of our millimeter wave circuits. We also discuss how we have suppressed side lobe response with a
Gaussian taper of our antenna illumination pattern. These improvements will be used in Spider, Polar-1, and this season’s
retrofit of Keck Array.
One technique for mapping the polarization signature of the cosmic microwave background uses large, polarizing grids
in reflection. We present the system requirements, the fabrication, assembly, and alignment procedures, and the test
results for the polarizing grid component of a 50 cm clear aperture, Variable-delay Polarization Modulator (VPM). This
grid is being built and tested at the Goddard Space Flight Center as part of the Polarimeter for Observing Inflationary
Cosmology at the Reionization Epoch (POINCARE).
For the demonstration instrument, 64 μm diameter tungsten wires are being assembled into a 200 μm pitch, free-standing
wire grid with a 50 cm clear aperture, and an expected overall flatness better than 30 μm. A rectangular,
aluminum stretching frame holds the wires with sufficient tension to achieve a minimum resonant frequency of 185 Hz,
allowing VPM mirror translation frequencies of several Hz. A lightly loaded, flattening ring with a 50 cm inside
diameter rests against the wires and brings them into accurate planarity.