Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Detection of degree-scale B-mode polarization and studying cosmic polarization rotation with the BICEP1 and BICEP2 telescopes
by Kaufman, Jonathan Philip, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2014, 168; 3622799
Abstract (Summary)

The BICEP1 and BICEP2 telescopes studied the temperature and polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) from 2006 – 2008 and 2010 – 2012, respectively, producing the deepest maps of polarization created to date. From BICEP2 three-year data, we detect B-mode polarization at the degree-scale above the expectation from lensed-ΛCDM to greater than 5σ significance, consistent with that expected from gravitational waves created during Inflation. Instrumental systematic effects have been characterized and ruled out, and galactic foreground contamination is disfavored by the data.

Additionally, correlations between temperature and B-mode polarization and between E-mode and B-mode polarization show evidence of polarization rotation of –1° to 5σ significance; however, adding systematic uncertainty reduces this significance to ∼ 2σ. These measurements, combined with other CMB and astrophysical measurements, point to possible parity violating physics like cosmic birefringence, but more precise calibration techniques are required to break the degeneracy between cosmic polarization rotation and systematic effects. Improved calibration is possible with current generation technology and may be achieved within the next few years.

In this work, I present experimental and analysis techniques employed for BICEP1 and BICEP2 to measure B-mode polarization and temperature and polarization correlations, as well as the scientific motivation, results, and a path forward for future measurements.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Keating, Brian
Commitee: Greist, Kim, Paar, Hans, Rebeiz, Gabriel, Thiemens, Mark
School: University of California, San Diego
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astrophysics
Keywords: B-modes, Birefringence, Cosmic microwave background, Cosmology, Gravitational waves, Inflation
Publication Number: 3622799
ISBN: 9781303947872
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