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Title: Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry with ABS and ACT: Instrumental Design, Characterization, and Analysis
Authors: Simon, Sara Michelle
Advisors: Staggs, Suzanne
Contributors: Physics Department
Keywords: Advanced ACTPol
Atacama B-mode Search
data selection
half-wave plate
time constant
Subjects: Physics
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The LCDM model of the universe is supported by an abundance of astronomical observations, but it does not confirm a period of inflation in the early universe or explain the nature of dark energy and dark matter. The polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) may hold the key to addressing these profound questions. If a period of inflation occurred in the early universe, it could have left a detectable odd-parity pattern called B-modes in the polarization of the CMB on large angular scales. Additionally, the CMB can be used to probe the structure of the universe on small angular scales through lensing and the detection of galaxy clusters and their motions via the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, which can improve our understanding of neutrinos, dark matter, and dark energy. The Atacama B-mode Search (ABS) instrument was a cryogenic crossed-Dragone telescope located at an elevation of 5190~m in the Atacama Desert in Chile that observed from February 2012 until October 2014. ABS searched on degree-angular scales for inflationary B-modes in the CMB and pioneered the use of a rapidly-rotating half-wave plate (HWP), which modulates the polarization of incoming light to permit the measurement of celestial polarization on large angular scales that would otherwise be obscured by 1/f noise from the atmosphere. Located next to ABS in the Atacama is the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), which is an off-axis Gregorian telescope. Its large 6~m primary mirror facilitates measurements of the CMB on small angular scales. HWPs are baselined for use with the upgraded polarization-sensitive camera for ACT, called Advanced ACTPol, to extend observations of the polarized CMB to larger angular scales while also retaining sensitivity to small angular scales. The B-mode signal is extremely faint, and measuring it poses an instrumental challenge that requires the development of new technologies and well-characterized instruments. I will discuss the use of novel instrumentation and methods on the ABS telescope and Advanced ACTPol, the characterization of the ABS instrument, and the first two seasons of ABS data, including an overview of the data selection process.
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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