QUBIC, the QU Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel forthcoming instrument to measure the B-mode polarization anisotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The detection of the B-mode signal will be extremely challenging; QUBIC has been designed to address this with a novel approach, namely bolometric interferometry. The receiver cryostat is exceptionally large and cools complex optical and detector stages to 40 K, 4 K, 1 K and 350 mK using two pulse tube coolers, a novel 4He sorption cooler and a double-stage 3He/4He sorption cooler. We discuss the thermal and mechanical design of the cryostat, modelling and thermal analysis, and laboratory cryogenic testing.
QUBIC (the Q and U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) is a ground-based experiment which seeks to improve the current constraints on the amplitude of primordial gravitational waves. It exploits the unique technique, among Cosmic Microwave Background experiments, of bolometric interferometry, combining together the sensitivity of bolometric detectors with the control of systematic effects typical of interferometers. QUBIC will perform sky observations in polarization, in two frequency bands centered at 150 and 220 GHz, with two kilo-pixel focal plane arrays of NbSi Transition-Edge Sensors (TES) cooled down to 350 mK. A subset of the QUBIC instrument, the so called QUBIC Technological Demonstrator (TD), with a reduced number of detectors with respect to the full instrument, will be deployed and commissioned before the end of 2018.
The voltage-biased TES are read out with Time Domain Multiplexing and an unprecedented multiplexing (MUX) factor equal to 128. This MUX factor is reached with two-stage multiplexing: a traditional one exploiting Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) at 1K and a novel SiGe Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) at 60 K. The former provides a MUX factor of 32, while the latter provides a further 4. Each TES array is composed of 256 detectors and read out with four modules of 32 SQUIDs and two ASICs. A custom software synchronizes and manages the readout and detector operation, while the TES are sampled at 780 Hz (100kHz/128 MUX rate).
In this work we present the experimental characterization of the QUBIC TES arrays and their multiplexing readout chain, including time constant, critical temperature, and noise properties.
QUBIC, the Q & U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel ground-based instrument that aims to measure the extremely faint B-mode polarisation anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background at intermediate angular scales (multipoles of 𝑙 = 30 − 200). Primordial B-modes are a key prediction of Inflation as they can only be produced by gravitational waves in the very early universe. To achieve this goal, QUBIC will use bolometric interferometry, a technique that combines the sensitivity of an imager with the immunity to systematic effects of an interferometer. It will directly observe the sky through an array of back-to-back entry horns whose beams will be superimposed using a cooled quasioptical beam combiner. Images of the resulting interference fringes will be formed on two focal planes, each tiled with transition-edge sensors, cooled down to 320 mK. A dichroic filter placed between the optical combiner and the focal planes will select two frequency bands (centred at 150 GHz and 220 GHz), one frequency per focal plane. Polarization modulation will be achieved using a cold stepped half-wave plate (HWP) and polariser in front of the sky-facing horns.
The full QUBIC instrument is described elsewhere1,2,3,4; in this paper we will concentrate in particular on simulations of the optical combiner (an off-axis Gregorian imager) and the feedhorn array. We model the optical performance of both the QUBIC full module and a scaled-down technological demonstrator which will be used to validate the full instrument design. Optical modelling is carried out using full vector physical optics with a combination of commercial and in-house software. In the high-frequency channel we must be careful to consider the higher-order modes that can be transmitted by the horn array. The instrument window function is used as a measure of performance and we investigate the effect of, for example, alignment and manufacturing tolerances, truncation by optical components and off-axis aberrations. We also report on laboratory tests carried on the QUBIC technological demonstrator in advance of deployment to the observing site in Argentina.
QUBIC, the Q & U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel ground-based instrument that has been designed to measure the extremely faint B-mode polarisation anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background at intermediate angular scales (multipoles of 𝑙 = 30 − 200). Primordial B-modes are a key prediction of Inflation as they can only be produced by gravitational waves in the very early universe. To achieve this goal, QUBIC will use bolometric interferometry, a technique that combines the sensitivity of an imager with the systematic error control of an interferometer. It will directly observe the sky through an array of 400 back-to-back entry horns whose signals will be superimposed using a quasi-optical beam combiner. The resulting interference fringes will be imaged at 150 and 220 GHz on two focal planes, each tiled with NbSi Transition Edge Sensors, cooled to 320 mK and read out with time-domain multiplexing. A dichroic filter placed between the optical combiner and the focal planes will select the two frequency bands. A very large receiver cryostat will cool the optical and detector stages to 40 K, 4 K, 1 K and 320 mK using two pulse tube coolers, a novel 4He sorption cooler and a double-stage 3He/4He sorption cooler. Polarisation modulation and selection will be achieved using a cold stepped half-wave plate (HWP) and polariser, respectively, in front of the sky-facing horns. A key feature of QUBIC’s ability to control systematic effects is its ‘self-calibration’ mode where fringe patterns from individual equivalent baselines can be compared. When observing, however, all the horns will be open simultaneously and we will recover a synthetic image of the sky in the I, Q and U Stokes’ parameters. The synthesised beam pattern has a central peak of approximately 0.5 degrees in width, with secondary peaks further out that are damped by the 13-degree primary beam of the horns. This is Module 1 of QUBIC which will be installed in Argentina, near the city of San Antonio de los Cobres, at the Alto Chorrillos site (4869 m a.s.l.), Salta Province. Simulations have shown that this first module could constrain the tensor-to-scalar ratio down to σ(r) = 0.01 after a two-year survey. We aim to add further modules in the future to increase the angular sensitivity and resolution of the instrument. The QUBIC project is proceeding through a sequence of steps. After an initial successful characterisation of the detection chain, a technological demonstrator is being assembled to validate the full instrument design and to test it electrically, thermally and optically.
The technical demonstrator is a scaled-down version of Module 1 in terms of the number of detectors, input horns and pulse tubes and a reduction in the diameter of the combiner mirrors and filters, but is otherwise similar. The demonstrator will be upgraded to the full module in 2019. In this paper we give an overview of the QUBIC project and instrument.
Remnant radiation from the early universe, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), has been redshifted and cooled, and today has a blackbody spectrum peaking at millimetre wavelengths. The QUBIC (Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) instrument is designed to map the very faint polaristion structure in the CMB. QUBIC is based on the novel concept of bolometric interferometry in conjunction with synthetic imaging. It will have a large array of input feedhorns, which creates a large number of interferometric baselines.
The beam from each feedhorn is passed through an optical combiner, with an off-axis compensated Gregorian design, to allow the generation of the synthetic image. The optical-combiner will operate in two frequency bands (150 and 220 GHz with 25% and 18.2 % bandwidth respectively) while cryogenically cooled TES bolometers provide the sensitivity required at the image plane.
The QUBIC Technical Demonstrator (TD), a proof of technology instrument that contains 64 input feed-horns, is currently being built and will be installed in the Alto Chorrillos region of Argentina. The plan is then for the full QUBIC instrument (400 feed-horns) to be deployed in Argentina and obtain cosmologically significant results.
In this paper we will examine the output of the manufactered feed-horns in comparison to the nominal design. We will show the results of optical modelling that has been performed in anticipation of alignment and calibration of the TD in Paris, in particular testing the validity of real laboratory environments. We show the output of large calibrator sources (50 ° full width haf max Gaussian beams) and the importance of accurate mirror definitions when modelling large beams. Finally we describe the tolerance on errors of the position and orientation of mirrors in the optical combiner.
Big Bang cosmologies predict that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) contains faint temperature and polarisation
anisotropies imprinted in the early universe. ESA's PLANCK satellite has already measured the temperature
anisotropies1 in exquisite detail; the next ambitious step is to map the primordial polarisation signatures which are
several orders of magnitude lower. Polarisation E-modes have been measured2 but the even-fainter primordial B-modes
have so far eluded detection. Their magnitude is unknown but it is clear that a sensitive telescope with exceptional
control over systematic errors will be required.
QUBIC3 is a ground-based European experiment that aims to exploit the novel concept of bolometric interferometry in
order to measure B-mode polarisation anisotropies in the CMB. Beams from an aperture array of corrugated horns will
be combined to form a synthesised image of the sky Stokes parameters on two focal planes: one at 150 GHz the other at
220 GHz. In this paper we describe recent optical modelling of the QUBIC beam combiner, concentrating on modelling
the instrument point-spread-function and its operation in the 220-GHz band. We show the effects of optical aberrations
and truncation as successive components are added to the beam path. In the case of QUBIC, the aberrations introduced
by off-axis mirrors are the dominant contributor. As the frequency of operation is increased, the aperture horns allow up to five hybrid modes to propagate and we illustrate how the beam pattern changes across the 25% bandwidth. Finally we
describe modifications to the QUBIC optical design to be used in a technical demonstrator, currently being manufactured
for testing in 2016.
The facility to realise the shape and extent of optical beams within a telescope or beamcombiner can aid greatly in the
design and layout of optical elements within the system. It can also greatly facilitate communication between the optical
design team and other teams working on the mechanical design of an instrument. Beyond the realm where raytracing is
applicable however, it becomes much more difficult to realise accurate 3D beams which incorporate diffraction effects.
It then is another issue to incorporate this into a CAD model of the system.
A novel method is proposed which has been used to aid with the design of an optical beam combiner for the QUBIC (Q
and U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) 1 experiment operating at 150 GHz and 220 GHz. The method
combines calculation work in GRASP 2, a commercial physical optics modelling tool from TICRA, geometrical work in
Mathematica, and post processing in MATLAB. Finally, the Python console of the open source package FreeCAD3 is
exploited to realise the 3D beams in a complete CAD system-model of the QUBIC optical beam combiner.
This paper details and explains the work carried out to reach the goal and presents some graphics of the outcome. 3D
representations of beams from some back-to-back input horns of the QUBIC instrument are shown within the CAD
model. Beams of the -3dB and -13dB contour envelope are shown as well as envelopes enclosing 80% and 95% of the
power of the beam. The ability to see these beams in situ with all the other elements of the combiner such as mirrors,
cold stop, beam splitter and cryostat widows etc. greatly simplified the design for these elements and facilitated
communication of element dimension and location between different subgroups within the QUBIC group.
The expansion of the universe has red-shifted remnant radiation, called the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
radiation, to the terahertz band, one of the last areas of the electromagnetic spectrum to be explored. The CMB has
imprinted upon it extremely faint temperature and polarisation features that were present in the early universe. The next
ambitious goal in CMB astronomy is to map the polarisation characteristics but their detection will require a telescope
with unprecedented levels of sensitivity and systematic error control. The QUBIC (Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for
Cosmology) instrument has been specifically designed for this task, combining the sensitivity of a large array of wideband
bolometers with the accuracy of interferometry. QUBIC will observe the sky through an array of horns whose
signals will be added using a quasi-optical beam combiner (an off-axis Gregorian dual reflector designed to have low
aberrations). Fringes will be formed on two focal planes separated by a polarising grid.
MODAL (our in house simulation package) has been used to great effect in achieving a detailed level of understanding
of the QUBIC combiner. Using a combination of scalar (GBM) and vector (PO) analysis, MODAL is capable of high
speed and accuracy in the simulation of quasi-optical systems. There are several technical challenges to overcome but the
development of MODAL and simulation techniques have gone a long way to solving these in the design and analysis
In this paper I outline the quasi-optical modelling of the QUBIC beam combiner and work envisaged for the future.
The Q and U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology (QUBIC) is a ground-based interferometer that aims to meet one of the major challenges of modern cosmology in the detection of B-mode polarization anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background.B-mode anisotropies originate from tensor fluctuations of the metric produced during the inflationary phase of the early Universe. Their detection would therefore constitute a major step towards understanding the primordial Universe. The expected level of these anisotropies is however so small that detection requires instruments with high sensitivity and extremely good control of systematic effects. The QUBIC instrument is based on the novel concept of bolometric interferometry, and exploits the sensitivity advantages of bolometric detectors along with the greater control of systematics offered by interferometry.The instrument will directly observe the sky through an array of entry horns whose signals will be combined optically onto an array of bolometers cooled to around 300mK. The whole set-up is located inside a cryostat. The sensitivity of the instrument is maximised if equivalent baselines produce identical fringe patterns on the focal plane. This requires the minimization of wavefront aberrations for a wide field-of-view and a fast system.In this poster we present the quasi-optical design and analysis of the dual reflector designed to do this. We report on the loss of sensitivity for different levels of optical aberration in the combiner. The sensitivity of the QUBIC instrument is comparable with that of an imager with the same number of horns but with much greater control over systematics.