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Published October 4, 2013 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Detection of B-Mode Polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background with Data from the South Pole Telescope


Gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background generates a curl pattern in the observed polarization. This "B-mode" signal provides a measure of the projected mass distribution over the entire observable Universe and also acts as a contaminant for the measurement of primordial gravity-wave signals. In this Letter we present the first detection of gravitational lensing B modes, using first-season data from the polarization-sensitive receiver on the South Pole Telescope (SPTpol). We construct a template for the lensing B-mode signal by combining E-mode polarization measured by SPTpol with estimates of the lensing potential from a Herschel-SPIRE map of the cosmic infrared background. We compare this template to the B modes measured directly by SPTpol, finding a nonzero correlation at 7.7σ significance. The correlation has an amplitude and scale dependence consistent with theoretical expectations, is robust with respect to analysis choices, and constitutes the first measurement of a powerful cosmological observable.

Additional Information

© 2013 American Physical Society. Received 22 July 2013; published 30 September 2013. The SPT is supported by the National Science Foundation through Grant No. ANT-0638937, with partial support provided by NSF Grant No. PHY-1125897. Support for the development and construction of SPTpol were provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant No. GBMF 947 to the University of Chicago, a gift from the Kavli Foundation, and NSF Grant No. 0959620. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. It also used resources of the CLUMEQ supercomputing consortium, part of the Compute Canada network. Research at Argonne National Laboratory and use of the Center for Nanoscale Materials are supported by theOffice of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The McGill group acknowledges funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The C. U. Boulder group acknowledges support from NSF Grant No. AST-0956135. We thank P. Hargrave at Cardiff University for antireflection coating the SPTpol lens, A. Datesman for his work on TES detectors at Argonne, R. Divan for microfabrication support at Argonne, and the members of the Truce Collaboration for their efforts in the design of the 150 GHz polarization detectors, in particular D. Becker, J. Britton, M. D. Niemack, and K.W. Yoon at NIST. We thank M. Lueker, T. Plagge, Z. Staniszewski, E. Shirokoff, H. Spieler, and R. Williamson for their considerable contributions to the SPT program. D. H. was supported by the Lorne Trottier Chair program in Astrophysics and Cosmology at McGill and by the CITA National Fellowship program. R.K. acknowledges support from NASA Hubble Fellowship Grant No. HF-51275.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevLett.111.141301.pdf

Submitted - 1307.5830v2.pdf


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