Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Precision measurements of cosmic microwave background polarization to study cosmic inflation and large scale structure
by Barron, Darcy Riley, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2015, 157; 3718400
Abstract (Summary)

Measurements of cosmic microwave background (CMB) are a powerful tool to study and understand our universe. Detailed characterizations of the temperature of the CMB played a key role in the development of the current standard cosmological model, Lambda CDM. Although this model, along with the standard model of particle physics, describes much of the observed large-scale structure of the universe and its evolution, there are still gaps in our understanding. The next step for answering many of these outstanding questions in cosmology and particle physics lies in the characterization of the CMB B-mode polarization pattern. This faint signal is expected to be imprinted at the formation of the CMB by inflationary gravitational waves in the early universe. Detection of this primordial B-mode signal would not only be the first direct evidence for inflation, but would also constrain inflationary models and determine the energy scale of inflation. Gravitational lensing of CMB E-mode polarization by intervening matter also produces a secondary B-mode polarization signal at smaller angular scales. This signal traces large scale structure in the universe, with information about the distribution and composition of matter.

This dissertation describes research in instrumentation, observations, and data analysis for measurements of the CMB B-mode signal, including work on three generations of experiments in this rapidly evolving field. Analysis of the galactic plane and CMB multi-frequency data from the BICEP1 CMB polarization telescope helped further our understanding of polarized CMB foregrounds by studying polarized galactic emission and the structure of the galactic magnetic field. The deployment and first season of observations with the POLARBEAR-1 instrument, a CMB polarization telescope, are described. This instrument reached a milestone in sensitivity with our measurement of a non-zero B-mode polarization power spectrum. Finally, this thesis discusses the design and development of the POLARBEAR-2 instrument, a new receiver with expanded capabilities and sensitivity, scheduled to deploy alongside POLARBEAR-1 in 2016.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Keating, Brian
Commitee: Burgasser, Adam, Paar, Hans, Rebeiz, Gabriel, Thiemens, Mark
School: University of California, San Diego
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astrophysics, Astronomy
Keywords: Cosmic microwave background, Cosmology, Inflation, Instrumentation
Publication Number: 3718400
ISBN: 978-1-321-98196-4
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