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Proceedings Paper

The Primordial Inflation Explorer (PIXIE)
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Paper Abstract

The Primordial Inflation Explorer is an Explorer-class mission to measure the gravity-wave signature of primordial inflation through its distinctive imprint on the linear polarization of the cosmic microwave background. PIXIE uses an innovative optical design to achieve background-limited sensitivity in 400 spectral channels spanning 2.5 decades in frequency from 30 GHz to 6 THz (1 cm to 50 μm wavelength). Multi-moded non-imaging optics feed a polarizing Fourier Transform Spectrometer to produce a set of interference fringes, proportional to the difference spectrum between orthogonal linear polarizations from the two input beams. The differential design and multiple signal modulations spanning 11 orders of magnitude in time combine to reduce the instrumental signature and confusion from unpolarized sources to negligible levels. PIXIE will map the full sky in Stokes I, Q, and U parameters with angular resolution 2.°6 and sensitivity 0.2 μK per 1° square pixel. The principal science goal is the detection and characterization of linear polarization from an inflationary epoch in the early universe, with tensor-to-scalar ratio r < 10-3 at 5 standard deviations. We describe the PIXIE instrument and mission architecture needed to detect the signature of an inflationary epoch in the early universe using only 4 semiconductor bolometers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 September 2011
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 8146, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts V, 81460T (14 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.892558
Show Author Affiliations
Alan Kogut, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David T. Chuss, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Jessie Dotson, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Dale J. Fixsen, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark Halpern, The Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)
Gary F. Hinshaw, The Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)
Stephan Meyer, The Univ. of Chicago (United States)
S. Harvey Moseley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Michael D. Seiffert, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
David N. Spergel, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Edward J. Wollack, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8146:
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts V
Howard A. MacEwen; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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