QUBIC: The QU Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology

Source: arXiv


One of the major challenges of modern cosmology is the detection of B-mode polarization anisotropies in the CMB. These originate from tensor fluctuations of the metric produced during the inflationary phase. Their detection would therefore constitute a major step towards understanding the primordial Universe. The expected level of these anisotropies is however so small that it requires a new generation of instruments with high sensitivity and extremely good control of systematic effects. We propose the QUBIC instrument based on the novel concept of bolometric interferometry, bringing together the sensitivity advantages of bolometric detectors with the systematics effects advantages of interferometry. Methods: The instrument will directly observe the sky through an array of entry horns whose signals will be combined together using an optical combiner. The whole set-up is located inside a cryostat. Polarization modulation will be achieved using a rotating half-wave plate and interference fringes will be imaged on two focal planes (separated by a polarizing grid) tiled with bolometers. We show that QUBIC can be considered as a synthetic imager, exactly similar to a usual imager but with a synthesized beam formed by the array of entry horns. Scanning the sky provides an additional modulation of the signal and improve the sky coverage shape. The usual techniques of map-making and power spectrum estimation can then be applied. We show that the sensitivity of such an instrument is comparable with that of an imager with the same number of horns. We anticipate a low level of beam-related systematics thanks to the fact that the synthesized beam is determined by the location of the primary horns. Other systematics should be under good control thanks to an autocalibration technique, specific to our concept, that will permit the accurate determination of most of the systematics parameters. Comment: 12 pages, 10 figures, submitted to Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Available from: Francesco Piacentini
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    ABSTRACT: As we have seen for digital camera market and a sensor resolution increasing to "megapixels", all the scientific and high-tech imagers (whatever the wave length - from radio to X-ray range) tends also to always increases the pixels number. So the constraints on front-end signals transmission increase too. An almost unavoidable solution to simplify integration of large arrays of pixels is front-end multiplexing. Moreover, "simple" and "efficient" techniques allow integration of read-out multiplexers in the focal plane itself. For instance, CCD (Charge Coupled Device) technology has boost number of pixels in digital camera. Indeed, this is exactly a planar technology which integrates both the sensors and a front-end multiplexed readout. In this context, front-end multiplexing techniques will be discussed for a better understanding of their advantages and their limits. Finally, the cases of astronomical instruments in the millimeter and in the X-ray ranges using SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Interference Device) will be described.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Instrumentation