Bicep3 is a 550-mm aperture telescope with cold, on-axis, refractive optics designed to observe at the 95-GHz band from the South Pole. It is the newest member of the Bicep/Keck family of inflationary probes specifically designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at degree angular scales. Bicep3 is designed to house 1280 dual-polarization pixels, which, when fully populated, totals to ∼ 9× the number of pixels in a single Keck 95-GHz receiver, thus further advancing the Bicep/Keck program’s 95 GHz mapping speed. Bicep3 was deployed during the austral summer of 2014–2015 with nine detector tiles, to be increased to its full capacity of 20 in the second season. After instrument characterization, measurements were taken, and CMB observation commenced in April 2015. Together with multi-frequency observation data from Planck, Bicep2, and the Keck Array, Bicep3 is projected to set upper limits on the tensor-to-scalar ratio to r≲ 0.03 at 95 % C.L.
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- Cosmic microwave background
- Instrumentation: polarimetry
- Primordial gravitational waves