The Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor consists of four instruments performing a CMB polarization survey. Currently, the 40 GHz and first 90 GHz instruments are deployed and observing, with the second 90 GHz and a multichroic 150/220 GHz instrument to follow. The receiver is a central component of each instrument's design and functionality. This paper describes the CLASS receiver design, using the first 90 GHz receiver as a primary reference. Cryogenic cooling and filters maintain a cold, low-noise environment for the detectors. We have achieved receiver detector temperatures below 50mK in the 40 GHz instrument for 85% of the initial 1.5 years of operation, and observed in-band efficiency that is consistent with pre-deployment estimates. At 90 GHz, less than 26% of in-band power is lost to the filters and lenses in the receiver, allowing for high optical efficiency. We discuss the mounting scheme for the filters and lenses, the alignment of the cold optics and detectors, stray light control, and magnetic shielding.
The Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) aims to detect and characterize the primordial Bmode signal and make a sample-variance-limited measurement of the optical depth to reionization. CLASS is a ground-based, multi-frequency microwave polarimeter that surveys 70% of the microwave sky every day from the Atacama Desert. The focal plane detector arrays of all CLASS telescopes contain smooth-walled feedhorns that couple to transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometers through symmetric planar orthomode transducer (OMT) antennas. These low noise polarization-sensitive detector arrays are fabricated on mono-crystalline silicon wafers to maintain TES uniformity and optimize optical efficiency throughout the wafer. In this paper, we discuss the design and characterization of the first CLASS 93 GHz detector array. We measure the dark parameters, bandpass, and noise spectra of the detectors and report that the detectors are photon-noise limited. With current array yield of 82%, we estimate the total array noise-equivalent power (NEP) to be 2.1 aW√s.
The search for inflationary primordial gravitational waves and the measurement of the optical depth to reionization, both through their imprint on the large angular scale correlations in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), has created the need for high sensitivity measurements of polarization across large fractions of the sky at millimeter wavelengths. These measurements are subject to instrumental and atmospheric 1=f noise, which has motivated the development of polarization modulators to facilitate the rejection of these large systematic effects.
Variable-delay polarization modulators (VPMs) are used in the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) telescopes as the first element in the optical chain to rapidly modulate the incoming polarization. VPMs consist of a linearly polarizing wire grid in front of a movable flat mirror. Varying the distance between the grid and the mirror produces a changing phase shift between polarization states parallel and perpendicular to the grid which modulates Stokes U (linear polarization at 45°) and Stokes V (circular polarization). The CLASS telescopes have VPMs as the first optical element from the sky; this simultaneously allows a lock-in style polarization measurement and the separation of sky polarization from any instrumental polarization further along in the optical path.
The CLASS VPM wire grids use 50 μm copper-plated tungsten wire with a 160μm spacing across a 60 cm clear aperture. The mirror is mounted on a flexure system with one degree of translational freedom, enabling the required mirror motion while maintaining excellent parallelism with respect to the wire grid. The wire grids and mirrors are held parallel to each other to better than 80 μm, and the wire grids have RMS flatness errors below 50 μm across the 60 cm aperture. The Q-band CLASS VPM was the first VPM to begin observing the CMB full time, starting in the Spring of 2016. The first W-band CLASS VPM was installed in the Spring of 2018.
The Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) is a four telescope array designed to characterize relic primordial gravitational waves from in ation and the optical depth to reionization through a measurement of the polarized cosmic microwave background (CMB) on the largest angular scales. The frequencies of the four CLASS telescopes, one at 38 GHz, two at 93 GHz, and one dichroic system at 145/217 GHz, are chosen to avoid spectral regions of high atmospheric emission and span the minimum of the polarized Galactic foregrounds: synchrotron emission at lower frequencies and dust emission at higher frequencies. Low-noise transition edge sensor detectors and a rapid front-end polarization modulator provide a unique combination of high sensitivity, stability, and control of systematics. The CLASS site, at 5200 m in the Chilean Atacama desert, allows for daily mapping of up to 70% of the sky and enables the characterization of CMB polarization at the largest angular scales. Using this combination of a broad frequency range, large sky coverage, control over systematics, and high sensitivity, CLASS will observe the reionization and recombination peaks of the CMB E- and B-mode power spectra. CLASS will make a cosmic variance limited measurement of the optical depth to reionization and will measure or place upper limits on the tensor-to-scalar ratio, r, down to a level of 0.01 (95% C.L.).