Design and Performance of the First BICEP Array Receiver

A. Schillaci, P. A.R. Ade, Z. Ahmed, M. Amiri, D. Barkats, R. Basu Thakur, C. A. Bischoff, J. J. Bock, H. Boenish, E. Bullock, V. Buza, J. Cheshire, J. Connors, J. Cornelison, M. Crumrine, A. Cukierman, M. Dierickx, L. Duband, S. Fatigoni, J. P. FilippiniG. Hall, M. Halpern, S. Harrison, S. Henderson, S. R. Hildebrandt, G. C. Hilton, H. Hui, K. D. Irwin, J. Kang, K. S. Karkare, E. Karpel, S. Kefeli, J. M. Kovac, C. L. Kuo, K. Lau, K. G. Megerian, L. Moncelsi, T. Namikawa, H. T. Nguyen, R. O’Brient, S. Palladino, N. Precup, T. Prouve, C. Pryke, B. Racine, C. D. Reintsema, S. Richter, B. L. Schmitt, R. Schwarz, C. D. Sheehy, A. Soliman, T. St Germaine, B. Steinbach, R. V. Sudiwala, K. L. Thompson, C. Tucker, A. D. Turner, C. Umiltà, A. G. Vieregg, A. Wandui, A. C. Weber, D. V. Wiebe, J. Willmert, W. L.K. Wu, E. Yang, K. W. Yoon, E. Young, C. Yu, C. Zhang

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Branches of cosmic inflationary models, such as slow-roll inflation, predict a background of primordial gravitational waves that imprints a unique odd-parity “B-mode” pattern in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) at amplitudes that are within experimental reach. The BICEP/Keck (BK) experiment targets this primordial signature, the amplitude of which is parameterized by the tensor-to-scalar ratio r, by observing the polarized microwave sky through the exceptionally clean and stable atmosphere at the South Pole. B-mode measurements require an instrument with exquisite sensitivity, tight control of systematics, and wide frequency coverage to disentangle the primordial signal from the Galactic foregrounds. BICEP Array represents the most recent stage of the BK program and comprises four BICEP3-class receivers observing at 30/40, 95, 150 and 220/270 GHz. The 30/40 GHz receiver will be deployed at the South Pole during the 2019/2020 austral summer. After 3 full years of observations with 30,000+ detectors, BICEP Array will measure primordial gravitational waves to a precision σ(r) between 0.002 and 0.004, depending on foreground complexity and the degree of lensing removal. In this paper, we give an overview of the instrument, highlighting the design features in terms of cryogenics, magnetic shielding, detectors and readout architecture as well as reporting on the integration and tests that are ongoing with the first receiver at 30/40 GHz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-984
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The BICEP/Keck project has been made possible through a series of Grants from the National Science Foundation including 0742818, 0742592, 1044978, 1110087, 1145172, 1145143, 1145248, 1639040, 1638957, 1638978, 1638970, and 1726917 and by the Keck Foundation. The development of antenna-coupled detector technology was supported by the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund and NASA Grants 06-ARPA206-0040, 10-SAT10-0017, 12-SAT12-0031, 14-SAT14-0009 and 16-SAT16-0002. The development and testing of focal planes were supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation at Caltech. Readout electronics were supported by a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant to UBC. The computations in this paper were run on the Odyssey cluster supported by the FAS Science Division Research Computing Group at Harvard University. The analysis effort at Stanford and SLAC is partially supported by the US DoE Office of Science. We thank the staff of the US Antarctic Program and in particular the South Pole Station without whose help this research would not have been possible. Tireless administrative support was provided by Kathy Deniston, Sheri Stoll, Irene Coyle, Donna Hernandez, and Dana Volponi.


  • B-mode polarization
  • BICEP Array
  • CMB
  • Cosmology
  • Inflation

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