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Measurement of Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization Power Spectra from Two Years of BICEP Data

  • Chiang, H. C.
  • Ade, P. A. R.
  • Barkats, D.
  • Battle, J. O.
  • Bierman, E. M.
  • Bock, J. J.
  • Dowell, C. D.
  • Duband, L.
  • Hivon, E. F.
  • Holzapfel, W. L.
  • Hristov, V. V.
  • Jones, W. C.
  • Keating, B. G.
  • Kovac, J. M.
  • Kuo, C. L.
  • Lange, A. E.
  • Leitch, E. M.
  • Mason, P. V.
  • Matsumura, T.
  • Nguyen, H. T.
  • And 8 more
Published Article
Publication Date
Feb 23, 2010
Submission Date
Jun 05, 2009
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/711/2/1123
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Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP) is a bolometric polarimeter designed to measure the inflationary B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at degree angular scales. During three seasons of observing at the South Pole (2006 through 2008), BICEP mapped ~2% of the sky chosen to be uniquely clean of polarized foreground emission. Here we present initial results derived from a subset of the data acquired during the first two years. We present maps of temperature, Stokes Q and U, E and B modes, and associated angular power spectra. We demonstrate that the polarization data are self-consistent by performing a series of jackknife tests. We study potential systematic errors in detail and show that they are sub-dominant to the statistical errors. We measure the E-mode angular power spectrum with high precision at 21 < ell < 335, detecting for the first time the peak expected at ell ~ 140. The measured E-mode spectrum is consistent with expectations from a LCDM model, and the B-mode spectrum is consistent with zero. The tensor-to-scalar ratio derived from the B-mode spectrum is r = 0.03+0.31-0.26, or r < 0.72 at 95% confidence, the first meaningful constraint on the inflationary gravitational wave background to come directly from CMB B-mode polarization.

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