Development of multi-mode receivers for the Cosmic Microwave Background balloon-borne experiment LSPE (Large Scale Polarization Explorer) (astronomy)
The next generation of CMB polarisation B-Mode experiments require very
high sensitivity. Developing very large and compact focal plane arrays is a
natural way to proceed. However, other possible solutions could be adopted
using multi-mode antennas which allow collecting more photons than
conventional single-mode antennas. The development of these devices goes
in parallel with the development of the associated multi-mode detectors and
optics. Even if multi-mode horns antennas have been adopted in the past for
intensity measurements (as in the Planck satellite mission), they have not
been used yet for polarisation measurements. The polarisation behaviour of
these devices still needs to be investigated in details. This field is at its early
stages of study.
The Large Scale Polarization Explorer (LSPE) is a balloon-borne Italian
experiment aimed at measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave
Background at large angular scales. The target of this experiment is to
constrain the B-mode component of the CMB polarization produced by tensor
perturbations generated during the inflation in the primordial universe. LSPE
will also produce maps of foreground polarization produced by synchrotron
emission and interstellar dust emission in our galaxy. The instrument is
optimized for large angular scales (resolution ~1.5° FWHM) and wide sky
coverage (30% of the full sky).
The experiment will consist of two instruments: the low frequency instrument
‘STRIP’, employing cryogenic HEMT amplifiers for an array of polarimeters
working at 40GHz and 90 GHz; the second instrument ‘SWIPE’, using a
rotating Half Wave Plate and large throughput multimoded bolometers for an
array of polarimeters working in three bands: 140, 220 and 240 GHz. The
Astronomy Instrumentation Group is strongly involved in designing and
building the SWIPE instrument and is participating to the study and
development of new multi-moded horn antennas and associated bolometric
This PhD research project will consist in:
- Electromagnetic modelling using finite-element analysis software
- Design of multi-mode optics using physical optics software
- Development of a dedicated testing facility for millimetre-wave
- Vector Network Analyser testing of the antennas
- Collaboration in the cryogenic testing of the bolometers
This project is available to students applying for funded PhD studentships and may be altered or withdrawn.
Studentships will be awarded to successful applicants from all applications received. Applicants must satisfy RCUK residency rules for the full studentship.
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