My project will enable unprecedented measurements for cosmology and fundamental physics, thanks to a prototype calibrator for a novel method to measure the angle of the polarization plane of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Polarization orientation systematics currently limit our ability to constrain cosmological parameters. PROTOCALC will provide a prototype calibration source to overcome this limit, dramatically improving instrumental accuracy. This experimental method will also enable us to discover (or place extremely tight limits on) paradigm shifting phenomena through Cosmic Birefringence, a departure from Standard Model. During the 2-year program I will develop, build and deploy a prototype for a novel precision calibrator making use of microwave sources between 40 and 150 GHz coupled to precise polarizing filters. The orientation of the source polarization plane will be measured by star cameras and gyroscopes with arcsecond accuracy. POLOCALC will take advantage of my and the supervisor's ongoing participation in the Simons Observatory which already includes the AdvACTPol and Simons Array projects, and will operate from the same site in the Atacama desert in Chile. Our project will operate from from a drone flying in sight of the telescope, allowing high elevation, far field measurements. This project will show the feasibility for polarization angle and beam calibrators for future CMB polarimeters.
Call for proposal
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