The design and performance of a wide bandwidth linear polarization modulator based on the Faraday effect is described. Faraday Rotation Modulators (FRMs) are solid-state polarization switches that are capable of modulation up to 10 kHz. Six FRMs were utilized during the 2006 observing season in the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP) experiment; three FRMs were used at each of BICEP's 100 and 150 GHz frequency bands. The technology was verified through high signal-to-noise detection of Galactic polarization using two of the six FRMs during four observing runs in 2006. The features exhibit strong agreement with BICEP's measurements of the Galaxy using non-FRM pixels and with the Galactic polarization models. This marks the first detection of high signal-to-noise mm-wave celestial polarization using fast, active optical modulation. The performance of the FRMs during periods when they were not modulated was also analyzed and compared to results from BICEP's 43 pixels without FRMs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Galaxy: structure
- instrumentation: polarimeters
- techniques: polarimetric