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Cosmic Microwave Background

Cosmic microwave background research explores the relic radiation left over today from an early hot phase of the universe.

At Argonne National Laboratory, we confront the most pressing questions in science and technology. These include explorations at the very edge of current observations, aiming to unravel the mysterious physics of the early universe via exquisitely detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). These observations are also some of the best sources of information regarding the composition of the universe and its evolution all the way to present times.

Discovered in 1965, the CMB is the relic radiation left over today from an early hot phase of the universe (often referred to informally as the Big Bang”). Argonne’s CMB research is more than a decade old and has honed our leadership in developing and fabricating very sensitive detectors and readout technology used for state-of-the-art CMB measurements. The South Pole Telescope project, a collaboration between national laboratories and universities around the globe, uses superconducting transition‐edge sensors fabricated at Argonne.

Argonne leverages its multidisciplinary talent and teams to bring together wide-ranging scientific, technical and project management expertise to support its CMB activities. 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been selected to serve as the lead laboratory for the DOE roles and responsibilities on CMB-S4, with Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory serving as partner labs and in partnership with universities. The CMB-S4 collaboration now numbers 236 members at 93 institutions in 14 countries and 21 U.S. states. CMB-S4 is planned as a joint DOE and NSF project.