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Theses Doctoral

Design and performance of kinetic inductance detectors for cosmic microwave background polarimetry

McCarrick, Heather

This thesis presents the development of kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) for cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimetry. Increasingly precise measurements of the CMB have led to much of our understanding of the observable universe; future measurements of the CMB will require the development of new detectors as progressively fainter signals are targeted. In particular, a measurement of the primordial B-mode polarization signal, which would offer strong evidence of inflation, will require at least a 50 times increase in detector count. KIDs are an attractive detector option for next-generation CMB experiments due to their low-noise and high-multiplexing factor. In this thesis, I present KIDs optimized for ground-based CMB observations, which are sensitive to a 150 GHz spectral band where the CMB spectrum peaks. This research demonstrates the first systematic studies of lumped-element KIDs (LEKIDs) optimized for CMB surveys and shows the readiness of the detectors for on-sky observations. First, I present the design and performance of horn-coupled LEKIDs, which are sensitive to a single polarization. I show that KIDs can meet the stringent noise and sensitivity requirements necessary for a competitive CMB detector. Second, I present a novel method for reducing crosstalk between LEKIDs, which is important for controlling instrument systematics. Third, I present the design and performance of dual-polarization LEKIDs, which are sensitive to orthogonal polarizations within a single spectral band and double the number of detectors per array, increasing the sensitivity. Finally, I present the initial analysis of millimeter-wave observations of a nearby galaxy cluster, Abell 2443, taken with the LEKID-based NIKA2 instrument on the IRAM 30 m telescope. This is part of ongoing research to make high-resolution measurements of the Sunyaev–Zel'dovich effect, seen as a distortion in the CMB spectrum.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Johnson, Bradley R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 24, 2018