A measurement of the cosmic microwave background damping tail from the 2500-square-degree SPT-SZ survey

K. T. Story, C. L. Reichardt, Z. Hou, R. Keisler, K. A. Aird, B. A. Benson, L. E. Bleem, J. E. Carlstrom, C. L. Chang, H. M. Cho, T. M. Crawford, A. T. Crites, T. De Haan, M. A. Dobbs, J. Dudley, B. Follin, E. M. George, N. W. Halverson, G. P. Holder, W. L. HolzapfelS. Hoover, J. D. Hrubes, M. Joy, L. Knox, A. T. Lee, E. M. Leitch, M. Lueker, D. Luong-Van, J. J. McMahon, J. Mehl, S. S. Meyer, M. Millea, J. J. Mohr, T. E. Montroy, S. Padin, T. Plagge, C. Pryke, J. E. Ruhl, J. T. Sayre, K. K. Schaffer, L. Shaw, E. Shirokoff, H. G. Spieler, Z. Staniszewski, A. A. Stark, A. Van Engelen, K. Vanderlinde, J. D. Vieira, R. Williamson, O. Zahn

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242 Scopus citations


We present a measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature power spectrum using data from the recently completed South Pole Telescope Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SPT-SZ) survey. This measurement is made from observations of 2540 deg2 of sky with arcminute resolution at 150 GHz, and improves upon previous measurements using the SPT by tripling the sky area. We report CMB temperature anisotropy power over the multipole range 650 < ℓ < 3000. We fit the SPT bandpowers, combined with the 7 yr Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP7) data, with a six-parameter ΛCDM cosmological model and find that the two datasets are consistent and well fit by the model. Adding SPT measurements significantly improves ΛCDM parameter constraints; in particular, the constraint on θ s tightens by a factor of 2.7. The impact of gravitational lensing is detected at 8.1σ, the most significant detection to date. This sensitivity of the SPT+WMAP7 data to lensing by large-scale structure at low redshifts allows us to constrain the mean curvature of the observable universe with CMB data alone to be . Using the SPT+WMAP7 data, we measure the spectral index of scalar fluctuations to be ns = 0.9623 ± 0.0097 in the ΛCDM model, a 3.9σ preference for a scale-dependent spectrum with ns < 1. The SPT measurement of the CMB damping tail helps break the degeneracy that exists between the tensor-to-scalar ratio r and ns in large-scale CMB measurements, leading to an upper limit of r < 0.18 (95% C.L.) in the ΛCDM+r model. Adding low-redshift measurements of the Hubble constant (H 0) and the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) feature to the SPT+WMAP7 data leads to further improvements. The combination of SPT+WMAP7+H 0+BAO constrains ns = 0.9538 ± 0.0081 in the ΛCDM model, a 5.7σ detection of ns < 1, and places an upper limit of r < 0.11 (95% C.L.) in the ΛCDM+r model. These new constraints on ns and r have significant implications for our understanding of inflation, which we discuss in the context of selected single-field inflation models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number86
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2013


  • cosmic background radiation
  • cosmology: observations
  • large-scale structure of universe


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