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Measurement of the Polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background


Philhour, Byron Jacob (2002) Measurement of the Polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/5333-vh17.


Measurement of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization will provide a powerful check on the model that describes CMB ΔT fluctuations as arising from density fluctuations in the early universe, break degeneracies between cosmological parameters that arise in interpreting ΔT fluctuations, and may ultimately allow detection of the stochastic gravity-wave background predicted by inflationary models. We describe the development and laboratory characterization of a bolometric experiment designed to measure the arcminute-scale polarization of the CMB. The Polatron receiver will be mounted at the Cassegrain focus of the 5.5 m telescope at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. The receiver will measure both the Q and U Stokes parameters over a 20% pass-band centered near 100 GHz, with the input polarization signal modulated at ~ 1 Hz by a rotating, birefringent, quartz half-wave plate. In six months of observation we plan to observe ~ 400 2.5 arcminute pixels in a ring about the North Celestial Pole to a precision of ~ 5 µK per pixel in each of Q and U, adequate to unambiguously detect CMB polarization at levels predicted by current models.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lange, Andrew E. (advisor)
  • Hughes, Emlyn Willard (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Lange, Andrew E. (chair)
  • Phillips, Thomas G. (co-chair)
  • Phinney, E. Sterl
  • Readhead, Anthony C. S. (co-chair)
  • Hughes, Emlyn Willard
Defense Date:4 January 2002
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:01272012-091128549
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6786
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:30 Jan 2012 17:00
Last Modified:05 Nov 2021 23:50

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