BICEP Array is a degree-scale Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) experiment that will search for primordial B-mode polarization while constraining Galactic foregrounds. BICEP Array will be comprised of four receivers to cover a broad frequency range with channels at 30/40, 95, 150 and 220/270 GHz. The first low-frequency receiver will map synchrotron emission at 30 and 40 GHz and will deploy to the South Pole at the end of 2019. In this paper, we give an overview of the BICEP Array science and instrument, with a focus on the detector module. We designed corrugations in the metal frame of the module to suppress unwanted interactions with the antenna-coupled detectors that would otherwise deform the beams of edge pixels. This design reduces the residual beam systematics and temperature-to-polarization leakage due to beam steering and shape mismatch between polarized beam pairs. We report on the simulated performance of single- and wide-band corrugations designed to minimize these effects. Our optimized design alleviates beam differential ellipticity caused by the metal frame to about 7% over 57% bandwidth (25 to 45 GHz), which is close to the level due the bare antenna itself without a metal frame. Initial laboratory measurements are also presented.
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(<i>r</i>) ⪅ 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.