M. Halpern

University of British Columbia - Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Publications (331)1521.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The BICEP2 instrument was designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on angular scales of 1 to 5 degrees ($\ell$=40-200), near the expected peak of the B-mode polarization signature of primordial gravitational waves from cosmic inflation. Measuring B-modes requires dramatic improvement in sensitivity combined with exquisite control of systematics. We have built on the successful strategy of BICEP1, which achieved the most sensitive limit on B-modes at these scales. The telescope had a 26 cm aperture and cold, on-axis, refractive optics, and it observed from a three-axis mount at the South Pole. BICEP2 adopted a new detector design in which beam-defining slot antenna arrays couple to transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometers, all fabricated monolithically on a common substrate. BICEP2 took advantage of this design's scalable fabrication and multiplexed SQUID readout to field more detectors than BICEP1, improving mapping speed by more than a factor of ten. In this paper we report on the design and performance of the instrument and on the three-year data set. BICEP2 completed three years of observation with 500 detectors at 150 GHz. After optimization of detector and readout parameters BICEP2 achieved an instrument noise equivalent temperature of 17.0 $\mu$K sqrt(s) and the full data set reached Stokes Q and U map depths of 87.8 nK in square-degree pixels (5.3 $\mu$K arcmin) over an effective area of 390.3 square degrees within a 1000 square degree field. These are the deepest CMB polarization maps at degree angular scales.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 792(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) experiment aims to map the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) at angular scales larger than a few degrees. Operating from Cerro Toco in the Atacama Desert of Chile, it will observe over 65% of the sky at 38, 93, 148, and 217 GHz. In this paper we discuss the design, construction, and characterization of the CLASS 38 GHz detector focal plane, the first ever Q-band bolometric polarimeter array.
    SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation, Montreal, Canada; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) is an experiment to measure the signature of a gravita-tional-wave background from inflation in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). CLASS is a multi-frequency array of four telescopes operating from a high-altitude site in the Atacama Desert in Chile. CLASS will survey 70\% of the sky in four frequency bands centered at 38, 93, 148, and 217 GHz, which are chosen to straddle the Galactic-foreground minimum while avoiding strong atmospheric emission lines. This broad frequency coverage ensures that CLASS can distinguish Galactic emission from the CMB. The sky fraction of the CLASS survey will allow the full shape of the primordial B-mode power spectrum to be characterized, including the signal from reionization at low $\ell$. Its unique combination of large sky coverage, control of systematic errors, and high sensitivity will allow CLASS to measure or place upper limits on the tensor-to-scalar ratio at a level of $r=0.01$ and make a cosmic-variance-limited measurement of the optical depth to the surface of last scattering, $\tau$.
    SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation, Montreal, Canada; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the Short Wavelength Camera (SWCam) for the CCAT observatory including the primary science drivers, the coupling of the science drivers to the instrument requirements, the resulting implementation of the design, and its performance expectations at first light. CCAT is a 25 m submillimeter telescope planned to operate at 5600 meters, near the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. CCAT is designed to give a total wave front error of 12.5 μm rms, so that combined with its high and exceptionally dry site, the facility will provide unsurpassed point source sensitivity deep into the short submillimeter bands to wavelengths as short as the 200 μm telluric window. The SWCam system consists of 7 sub-cameras that address 4 different telluric windows: 4 subcameras at 350 μm, 1 at 450 μm, 1 at 850 μm, and 1 at 2 mm wavelength. Each sub-camera has a 6’ diameter field of view, so that the total instantaneous field of view for SWCam is equivalent to a 16’ diameter circle. Each focal plane is populated with near unit filling factor arrays of Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors (LEKIDs) with pixels scaled to subtend an solid angle of (λ/D)2 on the sky. The total pixel count is 57,160. We expect background limited performance at each wavelength, and to be able to map < 35(°)2 of sky to 5 σ on the confusion noise at each wavelength per year with this first light instrument. Our primary science goal is to resolve the Cosmic Far-IR Background (CIRB) in our four colors so that we may explore the star and galaxy formation history of the Universe extending to within 500 million years of the Big Bang. CCAT's large and high-accuracy aperture, its fast slewing speed, use of instruments with large format arrays, and being located at a superb site enables mapping speeds of up to three orders of magnitude larger than contemporary or near future facilities and makes it uniquely sensitive, especially in the short submm bands. © (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
    Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: BICEP3 is a 550 mm-aperture refracting telescope for polarimetry of radiation in the cosmic microwave background at 95 GHz. It adopts the methodology of BICEP1, BICEP2 and the Keck Array experiments - it possesses sufficient resolution to search for signatures of the inflation-induced cosmic gravitational-wave background while utilizing a compact design for ease of construction and to facilitate the characterization and mitigation of systematics. However, BICEP3 represents a significant breakthrough in per-receiver sensitivity, with a focal plane area 5$\times$ larger than a BICEP2/Keck Array receiver and faster optics ($f/1.6$ vs. $f/2.4$). Large-aperture infrared-reflective metal-mesh filters and infrared-absorptive cold alumina filters and lenses were developed and implemented for its optics. The camera consists of 1280 dual-polarization pixels; each is a pair of orthogonal antenna arrays coupled to transition-edge sensor bolometers and read out by multiplexed SQUIDs. Upon deployment at the South Pole during the 2014-15 season, BICEP3 will have survey speed comparable to Keck Array 150 GHz (2013), and will significantly enhance spectral separation of primordial B-mode power from that of possible galactic dust contamination in the BICEP2 observation patch.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The recent BICEP2 measurement of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background (r=0.2_{-0.05}^{+0.07}), a possible indication of primordial gravity waves, appears to be in tension with the upper limit from WMAP (r<0.13 at 95% C.L.) and Planck (r<0.11 at 95% C.L.). We carefully quantify the level of tension and show that it is very significant (around 0.1% unlikely) when the observed deficit of large-scale temperature power is taken into account. We show that measurements of TE and EE power spectra in the near future will discriminate between the hypotheses that this tension is either a statistical fluke or a sign of new physics. We also discuss extensions of the standard cosmological model that relieve the tension and some novel ways to constrain them.
    Physical Review Letters 07/2014; 113(3):031301. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer (PIPER) is a balloon-borne cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimeter designed to search for evidence of inflation by measuring the large-angular scale CMB polarization signal. BICEP2 recently reported a detection of B-mode power corresponding to the tensor-to-scalar ratio r = 0.2 on ~2 degree scales. If the BICEP2 signal is caused by inflationary gravitational waves (IGWs), then there should be a corresponding increase in B-mode power on angular scales larger than 18 degrees. PIPER is currently the only suborbital instrument capable of fully testing and extending the BICEP2 results by measuring the B-mode power spectrum on angular scales $\theta$ = ~0.6 deg to 90 deg, covering both the reionization bump and recombination peak, with sensitivity to measure the tensor-to-scalar ratio down to r = 0.007, and four frequency bands to distinguish foregrounds. PIPER will accomplish this by mapping 85% of the sky in four frequency bands (200, 270, 350, 600 GHz) over a series of 8 conventional balloon flights from the northern and southern hemispheres. The instrument has background-limited sensitivity provided by fully cryogenic (1.5 K) optics focusing the sky signal onto four 32x40-pixel arrays of time-domain multiplexed Transition-Edge Sensor (TES) bolometers held at 140 mK. Polarization sensitivity and systematic control are provided by front-end Variable-delay Polarization Modulators (VPMs), which rapidly modulate only the polarized sky signal at 3 Hz and allow PIPER to instantaneously measure the full Stokes vector (I, Q, U, V) for each pointing. We describe the PIPER instrument and progress towards its first flight.
    SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation, Montreal, Canada; 07/2014
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of integration and characterization of the SPIDER instrument after the 2013 pre-flight campaign. SPIDER is a balloon-borne polarimeter designed to probe the primordial gravitational wave signal in the degree-scale $B$-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background. With six independent telescopes housing over 2000 detectors in the 94 GHz and 150 GHz frequency bands, SPIDER will map 7.5% of the sky with a depth of 11 to 14 $\mu$K$\cdot$arcmin at each frequency, which is a factor of $\sim$5 improvement over Planck. We discuss the integration of the pointing, cryogenic, electronics, and power sub-systems, as well as pre-flight characterization of the detectors and optical systems. SPIDER is well prepared for a December 2014 flight from Antarctica, and is expected to be limited by astrophysical foreground emission, and not instrumental sensitivity, over the survey region.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We introduce the light-weight carbon fiber and aluminum gondola designed for the SPIDER balloon-borne telescope. SPIDER is designed to measure the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation with unprecedented sensitivity and control of systematics in search of the imprint of inflation: a period of exponential expansion in the early Universe. The requirements of this balloon-borne instrument put tight constrains on the mass budget of the payload. The SPIDER gondola is designed to house the experiment and guarantee its operational and structural integrity during its balloon-borne flight, while using less than 10% of the total mass of the payload. We present a construction method for the gondola based on carbon fiber reinforced polymer tubes with aluminum inserts and aluminum multi-tube joints. We describe the validation of the model through Finite Element Analysis and mechanical tests.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the technology and control methods developed for the pointing system of the SPIDER experiment. SPIDER is a balloon-borne polarimeter designed to detect the imprint of primordial gravitational waves in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. We describe the two main components of the telescope's azimuth drive: the reaction wheel and the motorized pivot. A 13 kHz PI control loop runs on a digital signal processor, with feedback from fibre optic rate gyroscopes. This system can control azimuthal speed with < 0.02 deg/s RMS error. To control elevation, SPIDER uses stepper-motor-driven linear actuators to rotate the cryostat, which houses the optical instruments, relative to the outer frame. With the velocity in each axis controlled in this way, higher-level control loops on the onboard flight computers can implement the pointing and scanning observation modes required for the experiment. We have accomplished the non-trivial task of scanning a 5000 lb payload sinusoidally in azimuth at a peak acceleration of 0.8 deg/s$^2$, and a peak speed of 6 deg/s. We can do so while reliably achieving sub-arcminute pointing control accuracy.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the second generation BLASTbus electronics. The primary purposes of this system are detector readout, attitude control, and cryogenic housekeeping, for balloon-borne telescopes. Readout of neutron transmutation doped germanium (NTD-Ge) bolometers requires low noise and parallel acquisition of hundreds of analog signals. Controlling a telescope's attitude requires the capability to interface to a wide variety of sensors and motors, and to use them together in a fast, closed loop. To achieve these different goals, the BLASTbus system employs a flexible motherboard-daughterboard architecture. The programmable motherboard features a digital signal processor (DSP) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA), as well as slots for three daughterboards. The daughterboards provide the interface to the outside world, with versions for analog to digital conversion, and optoisolated digital input/output. With the versatility afforded by this design, the BLASTbus also finds uses in cryogenic, thermometry, and power systems. For accurate timing control to tie everything together, the system operates in a fully synchronous manner. BLASTbus electronics have been successfully deployed to the South Pole, and flown on stratospheric balloons.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: An attitude determination system for balloon-borne experiments is presented. The system provides pointing information in azimuth and elevation for instruments flying on stratospheric balloons over Antarctica. In-flight attitude is given by the real-time combination of readings from star cameras, a magnetometer, sun sensors, GPS, gyroscopes, tilt sensors and an elevation encoder. Post-flight attitude reconstruction is determined from star camera solutions, interpolated by the gyroscopes using an extended Kalman Filter. The multi-sensor system was employed by the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol), an experiment that measures polarized thermal emission from interstellar dust clouds. A similar system was designed for the upcoming flight of SPIDER, a Cosmic Microwave Background polarization experiment. The pointing requirements for these experiments are discussed, as well as the challenges in designing attitude reconstruction systems for high altitude balloon flights. In the 2010 and 2012 BLASTPol flights from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, the system demonstrated an accuracy of <5' rms in-flight, and <5" rms post-flight.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer (PIPER) is a balloon-borne instrument to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background in search of the expected signature of primordial gravity waves excited during an inflationary epoch shortly after the Big Bang. PIPER consists of two co-aligned telescopes, one sensitive to the Q Stokes parameter and the other to U. Sky signals will be detected with 5120 transition edge sensor (TES) bolometers distributed in four rectangular close-packed arrays maintained at 100 mK. To maximize the sensitivity of the instrument, both telescopes are mounted within a single open bucket dewar and are maintained at 1.5 K throughout flight, with no ambient-temperature windows between the sky and the detectors. To mitigate the effects of systematic errors, the polarized sky signals will be modulated using a variable-delay polarization modulator. PIPER will observe at frequencies 200, 270, 350, and 600 GHz to separate the CMB from polarized dust emission within the Galaxy. A series of flights alternating between northern and southern hemisphere launch sites will produce nearly full-sky maps in Stokes I, Q, U, and V. I will discuss the current status and potential science returns from the PIPER project.
    Millimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, Montréal, Quebec; 06/2014
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    ABSTRACT: A pathfinder version of CHIME (the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) is currently being commissioned at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in Penticton, BC. The instrument is a hybrid cylindrical interferometer designed to measure the large scale neutral hydrogen power spectrum across the redshift range 0.8 to 2.5. The power spectrum will be used to measure the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) scale across this poorly probed redshift range where dark energy becomes a significant contributor to the evolution of the Universe. The instrument revives the cylinder design in radio astronomy with a wide field survey as a primary goal. Modern low-noise amplifiers and digital processing remove the necessity for the analog beamforming that characterized previous designs. The Pathfinder consists of two cylinders 37\,m long by 20\,m wide oriented north-south for a total collecting area of 1,500 square meters. The cylinders are stationary with no moving parts, and form a transit instrument with an instantaneous field of view of $\sim$100\,degrees by 1-2\,degrees. Each CHIME Pathfinder cylinder has a feedline with 64 dual polarization feeds placed every $\sim$30\,cm which Nyquist sample the north-south sky over much of the frequency band. The signals from each dual-polarization feed are independently amplified, filtered to 400-800\,MHz, and directly sampled at 800\,MSps using 8 bits. The correlator is an FX design, where the Fourier transform channelization is performed in FPGAs, which are interfaced to a set of GPUs that compute the correlation matrix. The CHIME Pathfinder is a 1/10th scale prototype version of CHIME and is designed to detect the BAO feature and constrain the distance-redshift relation.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Millimeter wavelength radiation holds promise for detection of security threats at a distance, including suicide bomb belts and maritime threats in poor weather. The high sensitivity of superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) detectors makes them ideal for passive imaging of thermal signals at these wavelengths. We have built a 350 GHz video-rate imaging system using a large-format array of feedhorn-coupled TES bolometers. The system operates at a standoff distance of 16m to 28m with a spatial resolution of 1:4 cm (at 17m). It currently contains one 251-detector subarray, and will be expanded to contain four subarrays for a total of 1004 detectors. The system has been used to take video images which reveal the presence of weapons concealed beneath a shirt in an indoor setting. We present a summary of this work.
    SPIE Defense + Security; 06/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is a transit interferometer currently being built at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in Penticton, BC, Canada. We will use CHIME to map neutral hydrogen in the frequency range 400 -- 800\,MHz over half of the sky, producing a measurement of baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) at redshifts between 0.8 -- 2.5 to probe dark energy. We have deployed a pathfinder version of CHIME that will yield constraints on the BAO power spectrum and provide a test-bed for our calibration scheme. I will discuss the CHIME calibration requirements and describe instrumentation we are developing to meet these requirements.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report results from the BICEP2 experiment, a cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimeter specifically designed to search for the signal of inflationary gravitational waves in the B-mode power spectrum around l ∼ 80. The telescope comprised a 26 cm aperture all-cold refracting optical system equipped with a focal plane of 512 antenna coupled transition edge sensor 150 GHz bolometers each with temperature sensitivity of ≈300 μK CMB ffiffi s p . BICEP2 observed from the South Pole for three seasons from 2010 to 2012. A low-foreground region of sky with an effective area of 380 square deg was observed to a depth of 87 nK deg in Stokes Q and U. In this paper we describe the observations, data reduction, maps, simulations, and results. We find an excess of B-mode power over the base lensed-ΛCDM expectation in the range 30 < l < 150, inconsistent with the null hypothesis at a significance of > 5σ. Through jackknife tests and simulations based on detailed calibration measurements we show that systematic contamination is much smaller than the observed excess. Cross correlating against WMAP 23 GHz maps we find that Galactic synchrotron makes a negligible contribution to the observed signal. We also examine a number of available models of polarized dust emission and find that at their default parameter values they predict power ∼(5–10)× smaller than the observed excess signal (with no significant cross-correlation with our maps). However, these models are not sufficiently constrained by external public data to exclude the possibility of dust emission bright enough to explain the entire excess signal. Cross correlating BICEP2 against 100 GHz maps from the BICEP1 experiment, the excess signal is confirmed with 3σ significance and its spectral index is found to be consistent with that of the CMB, disfavoring dust at 1.7σ. The observed B-mode power spectrum is well fit by a lensed-ΛCDM þ tensor theoretical model with Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI. Published by the American Physical Society tensor-to-scalar ratio r ¼ 0.20 þ0.07 −0.05 , with r ¼ 0 disfavored at 7.0σ. Accounting for the contribution of foreground, dust will shift this value downward by an amount which will be better constrained with upcoming data sets.
    Physical Review Letters 06/2014; 112(24):24110185-98. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and celestial polarization at 146 GHz made with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope Polarimeter (ACTPol) in its first three months of observing. Four regions of sky covering a total of 270 square degrees were mapped with an angular resolution of $1.3'$. The map noise levels in the four regions are between 11 and 17 $\mu$K-arcmin. We present TT, TE, EE, TB, EB, and BB power spectra from three of these regions. The observed E-mode polarization power spectrum, displaying six acoustic peaks in the range $200<\ell<3000$, is an excellent fit to the prediction of the best-fit cosmological models from WMAP9+ACT and Planck data. The polarization power spectrum, which mainly reflects primordial plasma velocity perturbations, provides an independent determination of cosmological parameters consistent with those based on the temperature power spectrum, which results mostly from primordial density perturbations. We find that without masking any point sources in the EE data at $\ell<9000$, the Poisson tail of the EE power spectrum due to polarized point sources has an amplitude less than $2.4$ $\mu$K$^2$ at $\ell = 3000$ at 95\% confidence. Finally, we report that the Crab Nebula, an important polarization calibration source at microwave frequencies, has 8.7\% polarization with an angle of $150.9^\circ \pm 0.5^\circ$ when smoothed with a $5'$ Gaussian beam.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 05/2014; JCAP10(2014)007. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The recent BICEP2 measurement of primordial gravity waves (r = 0.2^{+0.07}_{-0.05}) appears to be in tension with the upper limit from WMAP (r<0.13 at 95% CL) and Planck (r<0.11 at 95% CL). We carefully quantify the level of tension and show that it is very significant (around 0.1% unlikely) when the observed deficit of large-scale temperature power is taken into account. We show that measurements of TE and EE power spectra in the near future will discriminate between the hypotheses that this tension is either a statistical fluke, or a sign of new physics. We also discuss extensions of the standard cosmological model that relieve the tension, and some novel ways to constrain them.
    Physical Review Letters 04/2014; · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the temperature power spectra of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) derived from the three seasons of data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) at 148 GHz and 218 GHz, as well as the cross-frequency spectrum between the two channels. We detect and correct for contamination due to the Galactic cirrus in our equatorial maps. We present the results of a number of tests for possible systematic error and conclude that any effects are not significant compared to the statistical errors we quote. Where they overlap, we cross-correlate the ACT and the South Pole Telescope (SPT) maps and show they are consistent. The measurements of higher-order peaks in the CMB power spectrum provide an additional test of the Lambda CDM cosmological model, and help constrain extensions beyond the standard model. The small angular scale power spectrum also provides constraining power on the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects and extragalactic foregrounds. We also present a measurement of the CMB gravitational lensing convergence power spectrum at 4.6-sigma detection significance.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 04/2014; 2014(04):014. · 6.04 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,521.95 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2014
    • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2013
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Astronomy
      Ithaca, New York, United States
  • 2012–2013
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
    • University College London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010–2013
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Department of Astronomy
      • • Department of Physics
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2008–2013
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
    • Joint Astronomy Centre
      Hilo, Hawaii, United States
  • 2011
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      • Institut d'astrophysique spatiale (IAS)
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Physics
      Berkeley, MO, United States
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
      Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • 2010–2011
    • Princeton University
      • • Department of Physics
      • • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
      Princeton, NJ, United States
  • 2005–2011
    • University of California, Irvine
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Irvine, CA, United States
  • 2009–2010
    • University of Miami
      • Department of Physics
      كورال غيبلز، فلوريدا, Florida, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • Government of British Columbia, Canada
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada