The Primordial Inflation Polarization ExploreR (PIPER) is a balloon-borne instrument optimized to measure the polarization of the CMB at large angular scales. It will map 85% of the sky over a series of conventional balloon flights from the Northern and Southern hemispheres, measuring the B-mode polarization power spectrum over a range of multipoles from 2-300 covering both the reionization bump and the recombination peak, with sensitivity to measure the tensor-to-scalar ratio down to r = 0.007. PIPER will observe in four frequency bands centered at 200, 270, 350, and 600 GHz to characterize dust foregrounds. The instrument has background-limited sensitivity provided by fully cryogenic (1.7 K) optics focusing the sky signal onto kilo-pixel arrays of time-domain multiplexed Transition-Edge Sensor (TES) bolometers held at 100 mK. Polarization sensitivity and systematic control are provided by front-end Variable-delay Polarization Modulators (VPMs). PIPER had its engineering ight in October 2017 from Fort Sumner, New Mexico. This papers outlines the major components in the PIPER system discussing the conceptual design as well as specific choices made for PIPER. We also report on the results of the engineering flight, looking at the functionality of the payload systems, particularly VPM, as well as pointing out areas of improvement.
The Primordial Inflation Polarization ExploreR (PIPER) is a balloon-borne telescope designed to measure the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background on large angular scales. PIPER will map 85% of the sky at 200, 270, 350, and 600 GHz over a series of 8 conventional balloon flights from the northern and southern hemispheres.
The first science flight will use two 32 × 40 arrays of backshort-under-grid transition edge sensors, multiplexed in
the time domain, and maintained at 100 mK by a Continuous Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator. Front-
end cryogenic Variable-delay Polarization Modulators provide systematic control by rotating linear to circular polarization at 3 Hz. Twin telescopes allow PIPER to measure Stokes I, Q, U , and V simultaneously. The telescope is maintained at 1.5 K in an LHe bucket dewar. Cold optics and the lack of a warm window permit sensitivity at the sky-background limit. The ultimate science target is a limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio of
r ∼ 0.007, from the reionization bump to l ∼ 300. PIPER’s first flight will be from the Northern hemisphere, and
overlap with the CLASS survey at lower frequencies. We describe the current status of the PIPER instrument.