The Simons Observatory (SO) is a new experiment that aims to measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in temperature and polarization. SO will measure the polarized sky over a large range of microwave frequencies and angular scales using a combination of small (~0.5 m) and large (~6 m) aperture telescopes and will be located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. This work is part of a series of papers studying calibration, sensitivity, and systematic errors for SO. In this paper, we discuss current efforts to model optical systematic effects, how these have been used to guide the design of the SO instrument, and how these studies can be used to inform instrument design of future experiments like CMB-S4. While optical systematics studies are underway for both the small aperture and large aperture telescopes, we limit the focus of this paper to the more mature large aperture telescope design for which our studies include: pointing errors, optical distortions, beam ellipticity, cross-polar response, instrumental polarization rotation and various forms of sidelobe pickup.
The Simons Observatory (SO) will make precision temperature and polarization measurements of the cosmic
microwave background (CMB) using a series of telescopes which will cover angular scales between 1 arcminute
and tens of degrees, contain over 40,000 detectors, and sample frequencies between 27 and 270 GHz. SO will
consist of a six-meter-aperture telescope coupled to over 20,000 detectors along with an array of half-meter
aperture refractive cameras, coupled to an additional 20,000+ detectors. The unique combination of large and
small apertures in a single CMB observatory, which will be located in the Atacama Desert at an altitude of
5190 m, will allow us to sample a wide range of angular scales over a common survey area. SO will measure
fundamental cosmological parameters of our universe, find high redshift clusters via the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect,
constrain properties of neutrinos, and seek signatures of dark matter through gravitational lensing. The complex
set of technical and science requirements for this experiment has led to innovative instrumentation solutions
which we will discuss. The large aperture telescope will couple to a cryogenic receiver that is 2.4 m in diameter
and over 2 m long, creating a number of interesting technical challenges. Concurrently, we are designing an array
of half-meter-aperture cryogenic cameras which also have compelling design challenges. We will give an overview
of the drivers for and designs of the SO telescopes and the cryogenic cameras that will house the cold optical
components and detector arrays.
The Simons Observatory (SO) will observe the temperature and polarization anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) over a wide range of frequencies (27 to 270 GHz) and angular scales by using both small (∼0.5 m) and large (∼6 m) aperture telescopes. The SO small aperture telescopes will target degree angular scales where the primordial B-mode polarization signal is expected to peak. The incoming polarization signal of the small aperture telescopes will be modulated by a cryogenic, continuously-rotating half-wave plate (CRHWP) to mitigate systematic effects arising from slowly varying noise and detector pair-differencing. In this paper, we present an assessment of some systematic effects arising from using a CRHWP in the SO small aperture systems. We focus on systematic effects associated with structural properties of the HWP and effects arising when operating a HWP, including the amplitude of the HWP synchronous signal (HWPSS), and I → P (intensity to polarization) leakage that arises from detector non-linearity in the presence of a large HWPSS. We demonstrate our ability to simulate the impact of the aforementioned systematic effects in the time domain. This important step will inform mitigation strategies and design decisions to ensure that SO will meet its science goals.