Development of Transition-Edge Sensor Bolometers to Probe Fundamental Physics Through Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the South Pole Telescope
Measurements of the temperature and polarization anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provide a wealth of data that can be used to understand fundamental physics and constrain cosmological models.
High angular resolution CMB temperature maps enable large scale, redshift independent surveys of galaxy clusters, which probe the growth of large scale structure and can be used to constrain dark energy. Polarized CMB maps at small angular scales can be used to measure the gravitational lensing of the CMB, which is a sensitive probe of the sum of the neutrino masses, and at larger angular scales have the potential to detect the polarized signal imprinted on the CMB by gravity waves in the inflationary epoch, which provides a direct measurement of the energy scale of inflation.
To achieve these science goals requires instruments with large arrays of detectors. At the wavelengths near the peak in CMB spectral radiance, bolometers are the most sensitive detector technology. I will describe the transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometer technology used in the recently completed South Pole Telescope (SPT) SZ survey, the newly deployed SPT-POL polarization-sensitive instrument, and the next generation receiver for the SPT, SPT-3G. I will also present an overview of science results from SPT-SZ and projections for SPT-POL and SPT-3G.