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Theses Doctoral

EBEX: A Balloon-Borne Telescope for Measuring Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization

Chapman, Daniel

EBEX is a long-duration balloon-borne (LDB) telescope designed to probe polarization signals in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). It is designed to measure or place an upper limit on the inflationary B-mode signal, a signal predicted by inflationary theories to be imprinted on the CMB by gravitational waves, to detect the effects of gravitational lensing on the polarization of the CMB, and to characterize polarized Galactic foreground emission.
The payload consists of a pointed gondola that houses the optics, polarimetry, detectors and detector readout systems, as well as the pointing sensors, control motors, telemetry sytems, and data acquisition and flight control computers. Polarimetry is achieved with a rotating half-wave plate and wire grid polarizer. The detectors are sensitive to frequency bands centered on 150, 250, and 410 GHz. EBEX was flown in 2009 from New Mexico as a full system test, and then flown again in December 2012 / January 2013 over Antarctica in a long-duration flight to collect scientific data.
In the instrumentation part of this thesis we discuss the pointing sensors and attitude determination algorithms. We also describe the real-time map making software, "QuickLook", that was custom-designed for EBEX. We devote special attention to the design and construction of the primary pointing sensors, the star cameras, and their custom-designed flight software package, "STARS" (the Star Tracking Attitude Reconstruction Software).
In the analysis part of this thesis we describe the current status of the post-flight analysis procedure. We discuss the data structures used in analysis and the pipeline stages related to attitude determination and map making. We also discuss a custom-designed software framework called "LEAP" (the LDB EBEX Analysis Pipeline) that supports most of the analysis pipeline stages.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Amber D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 6, 2015