University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Academic Calendar

Wednesday, September 17th 2014
10:30 am:
Thesis Defense in PAN 110
Speaker: Jeff Klein
Subject: Design, Implementation, and Calibration of Half-Wave Plate Polarimetry for the E and B Experiment
This is the public portion of Mr. Klein's thesis defense.

The E and B Experiment (EBEX) is a balloon-borne telescope designed to measure the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and dust foregrounds at 10' scales and three frequency bands of 150 GHz, 250 GHz, and 410 GHz in order to detect or constrain B-mode polarization. Results may provide evidence to support the theory of cosmological inflation, or constrain specific models.

EBEX's polarization measurement capability is implemented via continuously-rotating Half-Wave Plate (HWP) polarimetry. We discuss the design and implementation of the polarimetry hardware for the E and B Experiment (EBEX). In order to achieve low-temperature rotation of our 15 cm, 635 g achromatic HWP stack, we implement a unique application of a Superconducting Magnetic Bearing (SMB), building off an earlier prototype. We discuss design constraints, detail our implementation, and present results of tests of power dissipation, rotation speed stability, dynamic stability, and operational lifetime. We find power dissipation of 15 mW in our LDB configuration, and achieve successful operation of the system in both a 2009 test flight and a 2012 Long Duration (LDB) flight.

We design and carry out calibration tests to verify our ability to measure polarized signals. We develop a data analysis pipeline to extract polarization measurements from the chopped polarized signals we use in calibration; we verify and optimize the performance of this pipeline with a simulation. We find that a thorough understanding of the time constants of EBEX's bolometric sensors is essential to measure polarization. We develop methods to measure and remove the effects of these time constants. Tests of polarization rotation across our bands verify predictions of rotation due to our achromatic HWP 5-stack. Polarized beam scans allow us to set an absolute calibration for EBEX with a standard deviation of 1.5 degrees.

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