QUBIC, the QU Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel forthcoming instrument to measure the B-mode polarization anisotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The detection of the B-mode signal will be extremely challenging; QUBIC has been designed to address this with a novel approach, namely bolometric interferometry. The receiver cryostat is exceptionally large and cools complex optical and detector stages to 40 K, 4 K, 1 K and 350 mK using two pulse tube coolers, a novel 4He sorption cooler and a double-stage 3He/4He sorption cooler. We discuss the thermal and mechanical design of the cryostat, modelling and thermal analysis, and laboratory cryogenic testing.
QUBIC (the Q and U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) is a ground-based experiment which seeks to improve the current constraints on the amplitude of primordial gravitational waves. It exploits the unique technique, among Cosmic Microwave Background experiments, of bolometric interferometry, combining together the sensitivity of bolometric detectors with the control of systematic effects typical of interferometers. QUBIC will perform sky observations in polarization, in two frequency bands centered at 150 and 220 GHz, with two kilo-pixel focal plane arrays of NbSi Transition-Edge Sensors (TES) cooled down to 350 mK. A subset of the QUBIC instrument, the so called QUBIC Technological Demonstrator (TD), with a reduced number of detectors with respect to the full instrument, will be deployed and commissioned before the end of 2018.
The voltage-biased TES are read out with Time Domain Multiplexing and an unprecedented multiplexing (MUX) factor equal to 128. This MUX factor is reached with two-stage multiplexing: a traditional one exploiting Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) at 1K and a novel SiGe Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) at 60 K. The former provides a MUX factor of 32, while the latter provides a further 4. Each TES array is composed of 256 detectors and read out with four modules of 32 SQUIDs and two ASICs. A custom software synchronizes and manages the readout and detector operation, while the TES are sampled at 780 Hz (100kHz/128 MUX rate).
In this work we present the experimental characterization of the QUBIC TES arrays and their multiplexing readout chain, including time constant, critical temperature, and noise properties.
QUBIC, the Q & U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel ground-based instrument that aims to measure the extremely faint B-mode polarisation anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background at intermediate angular scales (multipoles of 𝑙 = 30 − 200). Primordial B-modes are a key prediction of Inflation as they can only be produced by gravitational waves in the very early universe. To achieve this goal, QUBIC will use bolometric interferometry, a technique that combines the sensitivity of an imager with the immunity to systematic effects of an interferometer. It will directly observe the sky through an array of back-to-back entry horns whose beams will be superimposed using a cooled quasioptical beam combiner. Images of the resulting interference fringes will be formed on two focal planes, each tiled with transition-edge sensors, cooled down to 320 mK. A dichroic filter placed between the optical combiner and the focal planes will select two frequency bands (centred at 150 GHz and 220 GHz), one frequency per focal plane. Polarization modulation will be achieved using a cold stepped half-wave plate (HWP) and polariser in front of the sky-facing horns.
The full QUBIC instrument is described elsewhere1,2,3,4; in this paper we will concentrate in particular on simulations of the optical combiner (an off-axis Gregorian imager) and the feedhorn array. We model the optical performance of both the QUBIC full module and a scaled-down technological demonstrator which will be used to validate the full instrument design. Optical modelling is carried out using full vector physical optics with a combination of commercial and in-house software. In the high-frequency channel we must be careful to consider the higher-order modes that can be transmitted by the horn array. The instrument window function is used as a measure of performance and we investigate the effect of, for example, alignment and manufacturing tolerances, truncation by optical components and off-axis aberrations. We also report on laboratory tests carried on the QUBIC technological demonstrator in advance of deployment to the observing site in Argentina.
QUBIC, the Q & U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology, is a novel ground-based instrument that has been designed to measure the extremely faint B-mode polarisation anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background at intermediate angular scales (multipoles of 𝑙 = 30 − 200). Primordial B-modes are a key prediction of Inflation as they can only be produced by gravitational waves in the very early universe. To achieve this goal, QUBIC will use bolometric interferometry, a technique that combines the sensitivity of an imager with the systematic error control of an interferometer. It will directly observe the sky through an array of 400 back-to-back entry horns whose signals will be superimposed using a quasi-optical beam combiner. The resulting interference fringes will be imaged at 150 and 220 GHz on two focal planes, each tiled with NbSi Transition Edge Sensors, cooled to 320 mK and read out with time-domain multiplexing. A dichroic filter placed between the optical combiner and the focal planes will select the two frequency bands. A very large receiver cryostat will cool the optical and detector stages to 40 K, 4 K, 1 K and 320 mK using two pulse tube coolers, a novel 4He sorption cooler and a double-stage 3He/4He sorption cooler. Polarisation modulation and selection will be achieved using a cold stepped half-wave plate (HWP) and polariser, respectively, in front of the sky-facing horns. A key feature of QUBIC’s ability to control systematic effects is its ‘self-calibration’ mode where fringe patterns from individual equivalent baselines can be compared. When observing, however, all the horns will be open simultaneously and we will recover a synthetic image of the sky in the I, Q and U Stokes’ parameters. The synthesised beam pattern has a central peak of approximately 0.5 degrees in width, with secondary peaks further out that are damped by the 13-degree primary beam of the horns. This is Module 1 of QUBIC which will be installed in Argentina, near the city of San Antonio de los Cobres, at the Alto Chorrillos site (4869 m a.s.l.), Salta Province. Simulations have shown that this first module could constrain the tensor-to-scalar ratio down to σ(r) = 0.01 after a two-year survey. We aim to add further modules in the future to increase the angular sensitivity and resolution of the instrument. The QUBIC project is proceeding through a sequence of steps. After an initial successful characterisation of the detection chain, a technological demonstrator is being assembled to validate the full instrument design and to test it electrically, thermally and optically.
The technical demonstrator is a scaled-down version of Module 1 in terms of the number of detectors, input horns and pulse tubes and a reduction in the diameter of the combiner mirrors and filters, but is otherwise similar. The demonstrator will be upgraded to the full module in 2019. In this paper we give an overview of the QUBIC project and instrument.
Remnant radiation from the early universe, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), has been redshifted and cooled, and today has a blackbody spectrum peaking at millimetre wavelengths. The QUBIC (Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) instrument is designed to map the very faint polaristion structure in the CMB. QUBIC is based on the novel concept of bolometric interferometry in conjunction with synthetic imaging. It will have a large array of input feedhorns, which creates a large number of interferometric baselines.
The beam from each feedhorn is passed through an optical combiner, with an off-axis compensated Gregorian design, to allow the generation of the synthetic image. The optical-combiner will operate in two frequency bands (150 and 220 GHz with 25% and 18.2 % bandwidth respectively) while cryogenically cooled TES bolometers provide the sensitivity required at the image plane.
The QUBIC Technical Demonstrator (TD), a proof of technology instrument that contains 64 input feed-horns, is currently being built and will be installed in the Alto Chorrillos region of Argentina. The plan is then for the full QUBIC instrument (400 feed-horns) to be deployed in Argentina and obtain cosmologically significant results.
In this paper we will examine the output of the manufactered feed-horns in comparison to the nominal design. We will show the results of optical modelling that has been performed in anticipation of alignment and calibration of the TD in Paris, in particular testing the validity of real laboratory environments. We show the output of large calibrator sources (50 ° full width haf max Gaussian beams) and the importance of accurate mirror definitions when modelling large beams. Finally we describe the tolerance on errors of the position and orientation of mirrors in the optical combiner.