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Multiscale multichroic focal planes for measurements of the cosmic microwave background


We report on the development of multiscale multichroic focal planes for measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). A multichroic focal plane, i.e., one that consists of pixels that are simultaneously sensitive in multiple frequency bands, is an efficient architecture for increasing the sensitivity of an experiment as well as for disentangling the contamination due to galactic foregrounds, which is increasingly becoming the limiting factor in extracting cosmological information from CMB measurements. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to observe across a broad frequency range spanning roughly 30-350 GHz. Depending on the foreground complexity, it may become necessary to observe across an even larger range. For this purpose, the Berkeley CMB group has been developing multichroic pixels consisting of planar superconducting sinuous antennas coupled to extended hemispherical lenslets, which operate at sub-Kelvin temperatures. The sinuous antennas, microwave circuitry and the transition-edge-sensor (TES) bolometers to which they are coupled are integrated in a single lithographed wafer.

We describe the design, fabrication, testing and performance of multichroic pixels with bandwidths of 3:1 and 4:1 across the entire frequency range of interest. Additionally, we report on a demonstration of multiscale pixels, i.e., pixels whose effective size changes as a function of frequency. This property keeps the beam width approximately constant across all frequencies, which in turn allows the sensitivity of the experiment to be optimal in every frequency band. We achieve this by creating phased arrays from neighboring lenslet-coupled sinuous antennas, where the size of each phased array is chosen independently for each frequency band. We describe the microwave circuitry in detail as well as the additional benefits of a multiscale architecture, e.g., mitigation of beam non-idealities, reduced readout requirements and polarization-wobble cancellation. Finally, we discuss the design and fabrication of the detector modules and focal-plane structures including cryogenic readout components, which enable the integration of our devices in current and future CMB experiments.

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