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Published August 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Initial Performance of BICEP3: A Degree Angular Scale 95 GHz Band Polarimeter


BICEP3 is a 550-mm aperture telescope with cold, on-axis, refractive optics designed to observe at the 95-GHz band from the South Pole. It is the newest member of the BICEP/Keck family of inflationary probes specifically designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at degree angular scales. BICEP3 is designed to house 1280 dual-polarization pixels, which, when fully populated, totals to ∼9× the number of pixels in a single Keck 95-GHz receiver, thus further advancing the BICEP/Keck program's 95 GHz mapping speed. BICEP3 was deployed during the austral summer of 2014–2015 with nine detector tiles, to be increased to its full capacity of 20 in the second season. After instrument characterization, measurements were taken, and CMB observation commenced in April 2015. Together with multi-frequency observation data from Planck, BICEP2, and the Keck Array, BICEP3 is projected to set upper limits on the tensor-to-scalar ratio to r ≲ 0.03 at 95 % C.L.

Additional Information

© 2015 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Received: 29 September 2015; Accepted: 30 November 2015; Published online: 29 December 2015. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant Nos. 1313158, 1313010, 1313062, 1313287, 1056465, 0960243), the SLAC Laboratory Directed Research and Development Fund, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Science and Technology Facilities Council Consolidated Grant (ST/K000926/1), and the British Columbia Development Fund. The development of detector technology was supported by the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund and Grants 06-ARPA206- 0040, 10-SAT10-0017, and 12-SAT12-0031 from the NASA APRA and SAT programs. The development and testing of detector modules were supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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October 20, 2023