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Astrophysics

Lumped-Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors for Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Lumped-Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors for Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry
NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) calls out understanding how the universe began as a major goal. The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a nearly isotropic radiation that fills the universe and contains unique cosmological information. The CMB contains polarization anisotropies and a measurement of the primordial B-mode polarization signal from inflationary gravitational waves could uniquely confirm the theory of inflation. In order to make this measurement, thousands of detectors with photon-noise limited sensitivity are needed. The NESSF fellowship has enabled me to work on the development of Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors (LEKIDs) for measuring CMB anisotropies. Specifically, I am conducting research for dual-polarization LEKIDs that are sensitive to spectral bands in the millimeter wavelengths where the CMB spectrum peaks. In the first year of the NESSF fellowship, I accomplished all stated goals, most importantly to demonstrate sensitive dual-polarization LEKIDs with low noise. We have been invited to deploy the dual-polarization LEKIDs at the Keck Array, a B-mode polarization experiment, for an on-sky test in the coming year. I will be part of the team to integrate and deploy the detectors and to analyze the experimental data. Additionally, as part of a collaboration, I have begun work towards developing multichroic KIDs, meaning the detectors are simultaneously sensitive to multiple spectral bands, that could be used in future CMB missions. In this progress report, I give a summary of work accomplished and present the research plan for 2016-2017. This research works to fulfill the NASA objectives of 1. Developing technological advances for future missions and 2. Measuring or a setting an upper limit on the primordial B-mode polarization signal. More »

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