Antenna-coupled TES bolometer arrays for BICEP2/Keck and SPIDER

School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, CF24 3AA, Cardiff, UK
Proc SPIE 09/2010; DOI: 10.1117/12.857914
Source: arXiv


BICEP2/Keck and SPIDER are cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimeters targeting the B-mode polar-ization induced by primordial gravitational waves from inflation. They will be using planar arrays of polarization sensitive antenna-coupled TES bolometers, operating at frequencies between 90 GHz and 220 GHz. At 150 GHz each array consists of 64 polarimeters and four of these arrays are assembled together to make a focal plane, for a total of 256 dual-polarization elements (512 TES sensors). The detector arrays are integrated with a time-domain SQUID multiplexer developed at NIST and read out using the multi-channel electronics (MCE) developed at the University of British Columbia. Following our progress in improving detector parameters uniformity across the arrays and fabrication yield, our main effort has focused on improving detector arrays optical and noise performances, in order to produce science grade focal planes achieving target sensitivities. We report on changes in detector design implemented to optimize such performances and following focal plane arrays characterization. BICEP2 has deployed a first 150 GHz science grade focal plane to the South Pole in December 2009.

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    ABSTRACT: We report on the preliminary detector performance of the Bicep2 mm-wave polarimeter, deployed in 2009 to the South Pole. Bicep2 is currently imaging the polarization of the cosmic microwave background at 150 GHz using an array of 512 antenna-coupled superconducting bolometers. The antennas, band-defining filters and transition edge sensor (TES) bolometers are photolithographically fabricated on 4 silicon tiles. Each tile consists of an 8×8 grid of ~7 mm spatial pixels, for a total of 256 detector pairs. A patial pixel contains 2 sets of orthogonal antenna slots summed in-phase, with each set coupled to a TES by a filtered microstrip. The detectors are read out using time-domain multiplexed SQUIDs. The detector pair of each spatial pixel is differenced to measure polarization. We report on the performance of the Bicep2 detectors in the field, including the focal plane yield, detector and multiplexer optimization, detector noise and stability, and a preliminary estimate of the improvement in mapping speed compared to Bicep1.
    Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 07/2010; 7741:77411H. DOI:10.1117/12.857861 · 0.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bicep2 deployed to the South Pole during the 2009-2010 austral summer, and is now mapping the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), searching for evidence of inflationary cosmology. Bicep2 belongs to a new class of telescopes including the Keck Array (ground-based) and Spider (balloon-borne) that follow on Bicep’s strategy of employing small, cold, on-axis refracting optics. This common design provides key advantages ideal for targeting the polarization signature from inflation, including: (i) A large field of view, allowing substantial light collecting power despite the small aperture, while still resolving the degree-scale polarization of the CMB; (ii) liquid helium-cooled optics and cold stop, allowing for low, stable instrument loading; (iii) the ability to rotate the entire telescope about the boresight; (iv) a baffled primary aperture, reducing sidelobe pickup; and (v) the ability to characterize the far field optical performance of the telescope using ground-based sources. We describe the last of these advantages in detail, including our efforts to measure the main beam shape, beam-match between orthogonally-polarized pairs, polarization efficiency and response angle, sidelobe pickup, and ghost imaging. We do so with ground-based polarized microwave sources mounted in the far field as well as with astronomical calibrators. Ultimately, Bicep2’s sensitivity to CMB polarization from inflation will rely on precise calibration of these beam features.
    Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 07/2010; 7741:77410V. DOI:10.1117/12.857868 · 0.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Bicep2 telescope is designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background on angular scales near one degree, with the goal of searching for the B-mode polarization induced by primordial gravitational waves from inflation. Bicep2 follows the success of Bicep, which has set the most sensitive current limits on B-modes on 2-4 degree scales. The experiment adopts a new detector design in which beam-defining slot antennas are coupled to TES detectors photolithographically patterned in the same silicon wafer, with multiplexing SQUID readout. Bicep2 takes advantage of this design's higher focal-plane packing density, ease of fabrication, and multiplexing readout to field more detectors than Bicep1, improving mapping speed by nearly a factor of 10. Bicep2 was deployed to the South Pole in November 2009 with 500 polarization-sensitive detectors at 150 GHz, and is funded for two seasons of observation. The first months' data demonstrate the performance of the Caltech/JPL antenna-coupled TES arrays, and two years of observation with Bicep2 will achieve unprecedented sensitivity to B-modes on degree angular scales.
    SPIE; 07/2010
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