SPIDER: A new balloon-borne experiment to measure CMB polarization on large angular scales

T. E. Montroy, P. A.R. Ade, R. Bihary, J. J. Bock, J. R. Bond, J. Brevik, C. R. Contaldi, B. P. Crill, A. Crites, O. Doré, L. Duband, S. R. Golwala, M. Halpern, G. Hilton, W. Holmes, V. V. Hristov, K. Irwin, W. C. Jones, C. L. Kuo, A. E. LangeC. J. MacTavish, P. Mason, J. Mulder, C. B. Netterfield, E. Pascale, J. E. Ruhl, A. Trangsrud, C. Tucked, A. Turner, M. Viero

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

30 Scopus citations


We describe SPIDER, a novel balloon-borne experiment designed to measure the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) on large angular scales. The primary goal of SPIDER is to detect the faint signature of inflationary gravitational waves in the CMB polarization. The payload consists of six telescopes, each operating in a single frequency band and cooled to 4 K by a common LN/LHe cryostat. The primary optic for each telescope is a 25 cm diameter lens cooled to 4 K. Each telescope feeds an array of antenna coupled, polarization sensitive sub-Kelvin bolometers that covers a 20 degree diameter FOV with diffraction limited resolution. The six focal planes span 70 to 300 GHz in a manner optimized to separate polarized galactic emission from CMB polarization, and together contain over 2300 detectors. Polarization modulation is achieved by rotating a cryogenic half-wave plate in front of the primary optic of each telescope. The cryogenic system is designed for 30 days of operation. Observations will be conducted during the night portions of a mid-latitude, long duration balloon flight which will circumnavigate the globe from Australia. By spinning the payload at 1 rpm with the six telescopes fixed in elevation, SPIDER will map approximately half of the sky at each frequency on each night of the flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-based and Airborne Telescopes
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventGround-based and Airborne Telescopes - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: May 24 2006May 31 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume6267 I
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-based and Airborne Telescopes
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Bolometer
  • Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
  • Focal plane arrays
  • Half-wave plate
  • Polarimetry
  • Radio telescopes
  • Scientific ballooning


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