EBEX is a balloon-borne polarimeter designed to measure the intensity and polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation. The measurements would probe the inflationary epoch that took place shortly after the big bang and would significantly improve constraints on the values of several cosmological parameters. EBEX is unique in its broad frequency coverage and in its ability to provide critical information about the level of polarized Galactic foregrounds which will be necessary for all future CMB polarization experiments. EBEX consists of a 1.5 m Dragone-type telescope that provides a resolution of less than 8 arcminutes over four focal planes each of 4. diffraction limited field of view at frequencies up to 450 GHz. The experiment is designed to accommodate 330 transition edge bolometric detectors per focal plane, for a total of up to 1320 detectors. EBEX will operate with frequency bands centered at 150, 250, 350, and 450 GHz. Polarimetry is achieved with a rotating achromatic half-wave plate. EBEX is currently in the design and construction phase, and first light is scheduled for 2008.

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## Scholarly Works (130 results)

Recent Work (2017)

© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl. A continuously rotating half-wave plate (CRHWP) is a promising tool to improve the sensitivity to large angular scales in cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization measurements. With a CRHWP, single detectors can measure three of the Stokes parameters, I, Q and U, thereby avoiding the set of systematic errors that can be introduced by mismatches in the properties of orthogonal detector pairs. We focus on the implementation of CRHWPs in large aperture telescopes (i.e. the primary mirror is larger than the current maximum half-wave plate diameter of ∼0.5 m), where the CRHWP can be placed between the primary mirror and focal plane. In this configuration, one needs to address the intensity to polarization (I→P) leakage of the optics, which becomes a source of 1/f noise and also causes differential gain systematics that arise from CMB temperature fluctuations. In this paper, we present the performance of a CRHWP installed in the {\scshape Polarbear} experiment, which employs a Gregorian telescope with a 2.5 m primary illumination pattern. The CRHWP is placed near the prime focus between the primary and secondary mirrors. We find that the I→P leakage is larger than the expectation from the physical properties of our primary mirror, resulting in a 1/f knee of 100 mHz. The excess leakage could be due to imperfections in the detector system, i.e. detector non-linearity in the responsivity and time-constant. We demonstrate, however, that by subtracting the leakage correlated with the intensity signal, the 1/f noise knee frequency is reduced to 32 mHz (ℓ ∼ 39 for our scan strategy), which is very promising to probe the primordial B-mode signal. We also discuss methods for further noise subtraction in future projects where the precise temperature control of instrumental components and the leakage reduction will play a key role.

Recent Work (2017)

© ESO, 2017. Analysis of cosmic microwave background (CMB) datasets typically requires some filtering of the raw time-ordered data. For instance, in the context of ground-based observations, filtering is frequently used to minimize the impact of low frequency noise, atmospheric contributions and/or scan synchronous signals on the resulting maps. In this work we have explicitly constructed a general filtering operator, which can unambiguously remove any set of unwanted modes in the data, and then amend the map-making procedure in order to incorporate and correct for it. We show that such an approach is mathematically equivalent to the solution of a problem in which the sky signal and unwanted modes are estimated simultaneously and the latter are marginalized over. We investigated the conditions under which this amended map-making procedure can render an unbiased estimate of the sky signal in realistic circumstances. We then discuss the potential implications of these observations on the choice of map-making and power spectrum estimation approaches in the context of B-mode polarization studies. Specifically, we have studied the effects of time-domain filtering on the noise correlation structure in the map domain, as well as impact it may haveon the performance of the popular pseudo-spectrum estimators. We conclude that although maps produced by the proposed estimators arguably provide the most faithful representation of the sky possible given the data, they may not straightforwardly lead to the best constraints on the power spectra of the underlying sky signal and special care may need to be taken to ensure this is the case. By contrast, simplified map-makers which do not explicitly correct for time-domain filtering, but leave it to subsequent steps in the data analysis, may perform equally well and be easier and faster to implement. We focused on polarization-sensitive measurements targeting the B-mode component of the CMB signal and apply the proposed methods to realistic simulations based on characteristics of an actual CMB polarization experiment, POLARBEAR. Our analysis and conclusions are however more generally applicable.

Recent Work (2019)

© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. The polarization of the atmosphere has been a long-standing concern for ground-based experiments targeting cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization. Ice crystals in upper tropospheric clouds scatter thermal radiation from the ground and produce a horizontally polarized signal. We report a detailed analysis of the cloud signal using a ground-based CMB experiment, Polarbear, located at the Atacama desert in Chile and observing at 150 GHz. We observe horizontally polarized temporal increases of low-frequency fluctuations ("polarized bursts," hereafter) of ≲0.1 K when clouds appear in a webcam monitoring the telescope and the sky. The hypothesis of no correlation between polarized bursts and clouds is rejected with >24σ statistical significance using three years of data. We consider many other possibilities including instrumental and environmental effects, and find no reasons other than clouds that can explain the data better. We also discuss the impact of the cloud polarization on future ground-based CMB polarization experiments.

Recent Work (2015)

© 2015 American Physical Society. We constrain anisotropic cosmic birefringence using four-point correlations of even-parity E-mode and odd-parity B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background measurements made by the POLARization of the Background Radiation (POLARBEAR) experiment in its first season of observations. We find that the anisotropic cosmic birefringence signal from any parity-violating processes is consistent with zero. The Faraday rotation from anisotropic cosmic birefringence can be compared with the equivalent quantity generated by primordial magnetic fields if they existed. The POLARBEAR nondetection translates into a 95% confidence level (C.L.) upper limit of 93 nanogauss (nG) on the amplitude of an equivalent primordial magnetic field inclusive of systematic uncertainties. This four-point correlation constraint on Faraday rotation is about 15 times tighter than the upper limit of 1380 nG inferred from constraining the contribution of Faraday rotation to two-point correlations of B-modes measured by Planck in 2015. Metric perturbations sourced by primordial magnetic fields would also contribute to the B-mode power spectrum. Using the POLARBEAR measurements of the B-mode power spectrum (two-point correlation), we set a 95% C.L. upper limit of 3.9 nG on primordial magnetic fields assuming a flat prior on the field amplitude. This limit is comparable to what was found in the Planck 2015 two-point correlation analysis with both temperature and polarization. We perform a set of systematic error tests and find no evidence for contamination. This work marks the first time that anisotropic cosmic birefringence or primordial magnetic fields have been constrained from the ground at subdegree scales.

© 2014 ESO. We analyse the implications of the Planck data for cosmic inflation. The Planck nominal mission temperature anisotropy measurements, combined with the WMAP large-angle polarization, constrain the scalar spectral index to be ns = 0.9603 ± 0.0073, ruling out exact scale invariance at over 5 s. Planck establishes an upper bound on the tensor-to-scalar ratio of r< 0.11 (95% CL). The Planck data thus shrink the space of allowed standard inflationary models, preferring potentials with V"< 0. Exponential potential models, the simplest hybrid inflationary models, and monomial potential models of degree n = 2 do not provide a good fit to the data. Planck does not find statistically significant running of the scalar spectral index, obtaining dns/dlnk =-0.0134 ± 0.0090. We verify these conclusions through a numerical analysis, which makes no slow-roll approximation, and carry out a Bayesian parameter estimation and model-selection analysis for a number of inflationary models including monomial, natural, and hilltop potentials. For each model, we present the Planck constraints on the parameters of the potential and explore several possibilities for the post-inflationary entropy generation epoch, thus obtaining nontrivial data-driven constraints. We also present a direct reconstruction of the observable range of the inflaton potential. Unless a quartic term is allowed in the potential, we find results consistent with second-order slow-roll predictions. We also investigate whether the primordial power spectrum contains any features. We find that models with a parameterized oscillatory feature improve the fit by 2eff 10 ; however, Bayesian evidence does not prefer these models. We constrain several single-field inflation models with generalized Lagrangians by combining power spectrum data with Planck bounds on fNL. Planck constrains with unprecedented accuracy the amplitude and possible correlation (with the adiabatic mode) of non-decaying isocurvature fluctuations. The fractional primordial contributions of cold dark matter (CDM) isocurvature modes of the types expected in the curvaton and axion scenarios have upper bounds of 0.25% and 3.9% (95% CL), respectively. In models with arbitrarily correlated CDM or neutrino isocurvature modes, an anticorrelated isocurvature component can improve the 2eff by approximately 4 as a result of slightly lowering the theoretical prediction for the l40 multipoles relative to the higher multipoles. Nonetheless, the data are consistent with adiabatic initial conditions.

© 2014 ESO. We discuss the methods employed to photometrically calibrate the data acquired by the Low Frequency Instrument on Planck. Our calibration is based on a combination of the orbital dipole plus the solar dipole, caused respectively by the motion of the Planck spacecraft with respect to the Sun and by motion of the solar system with respect to the cosmic microwave background (CMB) rest frame. The latter provides a signal of a few mK with the same spectrum as the CMB anisotropies and is visible throughout the mission. In this data releasewe rely on the characterization of the solar dipole as measured by WMAP. We also present preliminary results (at 44 GHz only) on the study of the Orbital Dipole, which agree with the WMAP value of the solar system speed within our uncertainties. We compute the calibration constant for each radiometer roughly once per hour, in order to keep track of changes in the detectors' gain. Since non-idealities in the optical response of the beams proved to be important, we implemented a fast convolution algorithm which considers the full beam response in estimating the signal generated by the dipole. Moreover, in order to further reduce the impact of residual systematics due to sidelobes, we estimated time variations in the calibration constant of the 30 GHz radiometers (the ones with the largest sidelobes) using the signal of an internal reference load at 4 K instead of the CMB dipole. We have estimated the accuracy of the LFI calibration following two strategies: (1) we have run a set of simulations to assess the impact of statistical errors and systematic effects in the instrument and in the calibration procedure; and (2) we have performed a number of internal consistency checks on the data and on the brightness temperature of Jupiter. Errors in the calibration of this Planck/LFI data release are expected to be about 0.6% at 44 and 70 GHz, and 0.8% at 30 GHz. Both these preliminary results at low and high â.," are consistent with WMAP results within uncertainties and comparison of power spectra indicates good consistency in the absolute calibration with HFI (0.3%) and a 1.4σ discrepancy with WMAP (0.9%).

Recent Work (2016)

© 2016 ESO. This paper presents the Planck 2015 likelihoods, statistical descriptions of the 2-point correlationfunctions of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature and polarization fluctuations that account for relevant uncertainties, both instrumental and astrophysical in nature. They are based on the same hybrid approach used for the previous release, i.e., a pixel-based likelihood at low multipoles (ℓ < 30) and a Gaussian approximation to the distribution of cross-power spectra at higher multipoles. The main improvements are the use of more and better processed data and of Planck polarization information, along with more detailed models of foregrounds and instrumental uncertainties. The increased redundancy brought by more than doubling the amount of data analysed enables further consistency checks and enhanced immunity to systematic effects. It also improves the constraining power of Planck, in particular with regard to small-scale foreground properties. Progress in the modelling of foreground emission enables the retention of a larger fraction of the sky to determine the properties of the CMB, which also contributes to the enhanced precision of the spectra. Improvements in data processing and instrumental modelling further reduce uncertainties. Extensive tests establish the robustness and accuracy of the likelihood results, from temperature alone, from polarization alone, and from their combination. For temperature, we also perform a full likelihood analysis of realistic end-to-end simulations of the instrumental response to the sky, which were fed into the actual data processing pipeline; this does not reveal biases from residual low-level instrumental systematics. Even with the increase in precision and robustness, the ΛCDM cosmological model continues to offer a very good fit to the Planck data. The slope of the primordial scalar fluctuations, ns, is confirmed smaller than unity at more than 5σ from Planck alone. We further validate the robustness of the likelihood results against specific extensions to the baseline cosmology, which are particularly sensitive to data at high multipoles. For instance, the effective number of neutrino species remains compatible with the canonical value of 3.046. For this first detailed analysis of Planck polarization spectra, we concentrate at high multipoles on the E modes, leaving the analysis of the weaker B modes to future work. At low multipoles we use temperature maps at all Planck frequencies along with a subset of polarization data. These data take advantage of Planck's wide frequency coverage to improve the separation of CMB and foreground emission. Within the baseline ΛCDM cosmology this requires τ = 0.078 ± 0.019 for the reionization optical depth, which is significantly lower than estimates without the use of high-frequency data for explicit monitoring of dust emission. At high multipoles we detect residual systematic errors in E polarization, typically at the μK2level; we therefore choose to retain temperature information alone for high multipoles as the recommended baseline, in particular for testing non-minimal models. Nevertheless, the high-multipole polarization spectra from Planck are already good enough to enable a separate high-precision determination of the parameters of the ΛCDM model, showing consistency with those established independently from temperature information alone.

© 2014 ESO. Based on cosmic microwave background (CMB) maps from the 2013 Planck Mission data release, this paper presents the detection of the integrated Sachs-Wolfe (ISW) effect, that is, the correlation between the CMB and large-scale evolving gravitational potentials. The significance of detection ranges from 2 to 4σ, depending on which method is used. We investigated three separate approaches, which essentially cover all previous studies, and also break new ground. (i) We correlated the CMB with the Planck reconstructed gravitational lensing potential (for the first time). This detection was made using the lensing-induced bispectrum between the low-â.," and high-â.," temperature anisotropies; the correlation between lensing and the ISW effect has a significance close to 2.5σ. (ii) We cross-correlated with tracers of large-scale structure, which yielded a significance of about 3σ, based on a combination of radio (NVSS) and optical (SDSS) data. (iii) We used aperture photometry on stacked CMB fields at the locations of known large-scale structures, which yielded and confirms a 4σ signal, over a broader spectral range, when using a previously explored catalogue, but shows strong discrepancies in amplitude and scale when compared with expectations. More recent catalogues give more moderate results that range from negligible to 2.5σ at most, but have a more consistent scale and amplitude, the latter being still slightly higher than what is expected from numerical simulations within ΛCMD. Where they can be compared, these measurements are compatible with previous work using data from WMAP, where these scales have been mapped to the limits of cosmic variance. Planck's broader frequency coverage allows for better foreground cleaning and confirms that the signal is achromatic, which makes it preferable for ISW detection. As a final step we used tracers of large-scale structure to filter the CMB data, from which we present maps of the ISW temperature perturbation. These results provide complementary and independent evidence for the existence of a dark energy component that governs the currently accelerated expansion of the Universe.

© 2016 ESO. The Planck full mission cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature and E-mode polarization maps are analysed to obtain constraints on primordial non-Gaussianity (NG). Using three classes of optimal bispectrum estimators-separable template-fitting (KSW), binned, and modal-we obtain consistent values for the primordial local, equilateral, and orthogonal bispectrum amplitudes, quoting as our final result from temperature alone localNL = 2.5 ± 5.7, equilNL=-16 ± 70, fNLlocal=2.5±5.7, fNLequil=-16±70, and orthoNL =-34 ± 32fNLortho=-34±33 (68% CL, statistical). Combining temperature and polarization data we obtain fNLlocal=0.8±5.0, fNLequil=-4±43, and fNLortho=-26±21localNL = 0.8 ± 5.0, equilNL=-4 ± 43, and orthoNL =-26 ± 21 (68% CL, statistical). The results are based on comprehensive cross-validation of these estimators on Gaussian and non-Gaussian simulations, are stable across component separation techniques, pass an extensive suite of tests, and are consistent with estimators based on measuring the Minkowski functionals of the CMB. The effect of time-domain de-glitching systematics on the bispectrum is negligible. In spite of these test outcomes we conservatively label the results including polarization data as preliminary, owing to a known mismatch of the noise model in simulations and the data. Beyond estimates of individual shape amplitudes, we present model-independent, three-dimensional reconstructions of the Planck CMB bispectrum and derive constraints on early universe scenarios that generate primordial NG, including general single-field models of inflation, axion inflation, initial state modifications, models producing parity-violating tensor bispectra, and directionally dependent vector models. We present a wide survey of scale-dependent feature and resonance models, accounting for the "look elsewhere" effect in estimating the statistical significance of features. We also look for isocurvature NG, and find no signal, but we obtain constraints that improve significantly with the inclusion of polarization. The primordial trispectrum amplitude in the local model is constrained to be glocalNL = (-0.9 ± 7.7) X 104(68% CL statistical), and we perform an analysis of trispectrum shapes beyond the local case. The global picture that emerges is one of consistency with the premises of the ΛCDM cosmology, namely that the structure we observe today was sourced by adiabatic, passive, Gaussian, and primordial seed perturbations.