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Observation of Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization with BICEP


Chiang, Hsin Cynthia (2009) Observation of Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization with BICEP. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/RA1D-V074.


Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP) is a bolometric polarimeter that has been optimized to target the B-mode of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization at degree angular scales, which is a sensitive probe of the energy scale of inflation. The instrument's focal plane comprises 49 pairs of polarization-sensitive bolometers operating at 100 and 150 GHz, and the 25-cm aperture refractive optics provide degree-scale resolution over a 17 degree instantaneous field of view. The compact design enables sufficient control of instrumental polarization systematics to attain a projected final sensitivity corresponding to a tensor-to-scalar ratio of 0.1. This thesis describes the design, performance, and preliminary science results from BICEP, which has been observing the CMB from the South Pole since January 2006. After the first two seasons of operation, the EE, TE, and TT power spectra are measured with high precision at 30 < ell < 300, and BB is consistent with zero. BICEP has also observed the Galactic plane, and polarized emission is mapped with high signal-to-noise.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:b-mode; bolometers; cosmic microwave background; gravitational wave background; inflation; polarization
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Awards:John Stager Stemple Memorial Prize in Physics, 2005.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lange, Andrew E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Lange, Andrew E. (chair)
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth George
  • Kamionkowski, Marc P.
  • Phillips, Thomas G.
Defense Date:9 September 2008
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10052008-101916
Persistent URL:
Chiang, Hsin Cynthia0000-0002-4098-9533
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3938
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:11 Nov 2008
Last Modified:26 Nov 2019 20:24

Thesis Files

PDF (hcc_thesis.pdf) - Final Version
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