Theses Doctoral

Construction, Deployment and Data Analysis of the E and B EXperiment: A Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimeter

Didier-Scapel, Joy Maria Elise

The E and B EXperiment (EBEX) is a pointed balloon-borne telescope designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as well as that from Galactic dust. The instrument is equipped with a 1.5 meter aperture Gregorian-Dragone telescope, providing an 8' beam at three frequency bands centered on 150, 250 and 410 GHz. The telescope is designed to measure or place an upper limit on inflationary B-mode signals and to probe B-modes originating from gravitationnal lensing of the CMB. The higher EBEX frequencies are designed to enable the measurement and removal of polarized Galactic dust foregrounds which currently limit the measurement of inflationary B-modes. Polarimetry is achieved by rotating an achromatic half-wave plate (HWP) on a superconducting magnetic bearing. In January 2013, EBEX completed 11 days of observations in a flight over Antarctica covering 6,000 square degrees of the southern sky. This marks the first time that kilo-pixel TES bolometer arrays have made science observations on a balloon-borne platform.
In this thesis we report on the construction, deployment and data analysis of EBEX. We review the development of the pointing sensors and software used for real-time attitude determination and control, including pre-flight testing and calibration. We then report on the 2013 long duration flight (LD2013) and review all the major stages of the analysis pipeline used to transform the ~1 TB of raw data into polarized sky maps. We review "LEAP", the software framework developed to support the analysis pipeline. We discuss in detail the novel program developed to reconstruct the attitude post-flight and estimate the effect of attitude errors on measured B-mode signals. We describe the bolometer time-stream cleaning procedure including removing the HWP-synchronous signal, and we detail the map making procedure. Finally we present a novel method to measure and subtract instrumental polarization, after which we show Galaxy and CMB maps.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Amber D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 8, 2016