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Title: Probing Inflationary Cosmology: The Atacama B-Mode Search (ABS)
Authors: Essinger-Hileman, Thomas
Advisors: Page, Lyman A.
Contributors: Physics Department
Keywords: B-Modes
Cosmic Microwave Background
Millimeter-Wave Astronomy
Subjects: Physics
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have provided compelling evidence for the Standard Model of Cosmology and have led to the most precise estimates of cosmological parameters to date. Through its sensitivity to gravitational waves, the CMB provides a glimpse into the state of the universe just 10<super>-35</super> seconds after the Big Bang and of physics on grand-unification-theory (GUT) energy scales around 10<super>16</super> GeV, some 13 orders of magnitude above the energies achievable by current terrestrial particle accelerators. A gravitational-wave background (GWB) in the early universe would leave a unique, odd-parity pattern of polarization in the CMB called B modes, the magnitude of which is characterized by the tensor-to-scalar ratio, r. A GWB is generically predicted to exist by inflationary theories, and the current generation of CMB polarization experiments will probe the interesting parameter space of r < 0.05 corresponding to single-field inflationary models at GUT scales. I detail the design and construction of the Atacama B-Mode Search (ABS), which aims to measure the polarization of the CMB at degree angular scales where the primordial B-mode signal is expected to peak. ABS is a 145-GHz polarimeter that will operate from a high-altitude site in the Atacama Desert of Chile, consisting of a 60-cm crossed-Dragone telescope with cryogenic primary and secondary reflectors; an array of 240 feedhorn-coupled, transition-edge-sensor bolometric polarimeters ; and, a continuously-rotating, warm, sapphire half-wave plate (HWP)that will provide modulation of the incoming polarization of light. In this thesis, I describe the optical, mechanical, and cryogenic design of the receiver, including the reflector design, focal-plane layout, HWP design, and free-space lowpass filters. I describe physical-optics modeling of the reflector and feedhorn to validate the optical design. A matrix model that allows the calculation of the Mueller matrix of the anti-reflection-coated HWP for arbitrary frequency and angle of incidence is outlined. This will provide a framework for characterizing the ABS HWP in the field. Finally, the development of metal-mesh free space filters for ABS is described. ABS is anticipated to measure or place an upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio at a level of r &sim 0.03.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Physics

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