SPIDER: a balloon-borne CMB polarimeter for large angular scales

06/2011; DOI: 10.1117/12.857720
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We describe SPIDER, a balloon-borne instrument to map the polarization of the
millimeter-wave sky with degree angular resolution. Spider consists of six
monochromatic refracting telescopes, each illuminating a focal plane of
large-format antenna-coupled bolometer arrays. A total of 2,624 superconducting
transition-edge sensors are distributed among three observing bands centered at
90, 150, and 280 GHz. A cold half-wave plate at the aperture of each telescope
modulates the polarization of incoming light to control systematics. Spider's
first flight will be a 20-30-day Antarctic balloon campaign in December 2011.
This flight will map \sim8% of the sky to achieve unprecedented sensitivity to
the polarization signature of the gravitational wave background predicted by
inflationary cosmology. The Spider mission will also serve as a proving ground
for these detector technologies in preparation for a future satellite mission.

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