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Published August 1, 2017 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

A New Limit on CMB Circular Polarization from SPIDER


We present a new upper limit on cosmic microwave background (CMB) circular polarization from the 2015 flight of SPIDER, a balloon-borne telescope designed to search for B-mode linear polarization from cosmic inflation. Although the level of circular polarization in the CMB is predicted to be very small, experimental limits provide a valuable test of the underlying models. By exploiting the nonzero circular-to-linear polarization coupling of the half-wave plate polarization modulators, data from SPIDER's 2015 Antarctic flight provide a constraint on Stokes V at 95 and 150 GHz in the range 33 < ℓ < 307. No other limits exist over this full range of angular scales, and SPIDER improves on the previous limit by several orders of magnitude, providing 95% C.L. constraints on ℓ(ℓ + 1)C^(VV)_ ℓ/(2π) ranging from 141 to 255 μK^2 at 150 GHz for a thermal CMB spectrum. As linear CMB polarization experiments become increasingly sensitive, the techniques described in this paper can be applied to obtain even stronger constraints on circular polarization.

Additional Information

© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 April 5; revised 2017 June 21; accepted 2017 June 28; published 2017 August 2. Spider is supported in the U.S. by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grants NNX07AL64G, NNX12AE95G, and NNX17AC55G issued through the Science Mission Directorate and by the National Science Foundation through PLR-1043515. Logistical support for the Antarctic deployment and operations was provided by the NSF through the U.S. Antarctic Program. Support in Canada is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency. Support in Norway is provided by the Research Council of Norway. Support in Sweden is provided by the Swedish Research Council through the Oskar Klein Centre (contract no. 638-2013-8993). We also wish to acknowledge the generous support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which has been crucial to the success of the project. The collaboration is grateful to the British Antarctic Survey, particularly Sam Burrell, for invaluable assistance with data and payload recovery after the 2015 flight. We thank Brendan Crill and Tom Montroy for significant contributions to Spider's development. J.M.N. wishes to thank Glenn Starkman for useful discussions about methods of generating CMB circular polarization. The computations described in this paper were performed on the GPC supercomputer at the SciNet HPC Consortium (Loken et al. 2010). SciNet is funded by, the Canada Foundation for Innovation under the auspices of Compute Canada; the Government of Ontario; Ontario Research Fund—Research Excellence; and the University of Toronto.

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Published - Nagy_2017_ApJ_844_151.pdf

Submitted - 1704.00215.pdf


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