When completed, POLAR-1 will be the most sensitive cosmic microwave background polarimeter currently in operation. In addition to being able to detect lensing induced B-polarization with extremely high accuracy, it will also search for the cosmic gravitational wave background down to two percent of the initial perturbation in power.
The First Receiver of its Kind
As the first receiver mounted in an array of telescopes, POLAR-1 will be capable of detecting and characterizing gravitational B-modes. It will also be able to disentangle them from lensing-induced B-modes, and measure the mass of neutrinos through their influence on the matter power spectrum.
Lensing and Gravitational Wave Study
POLAR-1, which is set to be commissioned at the South Pole in the fall of 2012, will consist of a large-format focal plane camera with approximately 4,000 polarization-sensitive superconducting bolometers operating at 150 GHz. These instruments will be integrated with a 1.6m reflective telescope. The combination of angular resolution and array size makes it ideally suited to study both the lensing and gravitational-wave generated by B-polarization.
Concept of the POLAR array when fully constructed. Image created by Chris Sheehy and Keith Thompson