Ultra-thin large-aperture vacuum windows for millimeter wavelengths receivers

Denis Barkats, Marion I. Dierickx, John M. Kovac, Chris Pentacoff, P. A.R. Ade, Z. Ahmed, R. W. Aikin, K. D. Alexander, S. J. Benton, C. A. Bischoff, J. J. Bock, R. Bowens-Rubin, J. A. Brevik, I. Buder, E. Bullock, V. Buza, J. Connors, J. Cornelison, B. P. Crill, M. CrumrineL. Duband, C. Dvorkin, J. P. Filippini, S. Fliescher, J. A. Grayson, G. Hall, M. Halpern, S. A. Harrison, S. R. Hildebrandt, G. C. Hilton, H. Hui, K. D. Irwin, J. Kang, K. S. Karkare, E. Karpel, J. P. Kaufman, B. G. Keating, S. Kefeli, S. A. Kernasovskiy, C. L. Kuo, K. Lau, N. A. Larsen, E. M. Leitch, M. Lueker, K. G. Megerian, L. Moncelsi, T. Namikawa, H. T. Nguyen, R. O'Brient, R. W. Ogburn, S. Palladino, C. Pryke, B. Racine, S. Richter, R. Schwarz, A. Schillaci, C. D. Sheehy, A. Soliman, T. St Germaine, Z. K. Staniszewski, B. Steinbach, R. V. Sudiwala, G. P. Teply, K. L. Thompson, J. E. Tolan, C. Tucker, A. D. Turner, C. Umiltà, A. G. Vieregg, A. Wandui, A. C. Weber, D. V. Wiebe, J. Willmert, C. L. Wong, W. L.K. Wu, H. Yang, K. W. Yoon, C. Zhang

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

6 Scopus citations


Targeting faint polarization patterns arising from Primordial Gravitational Waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background requires excellent observational sensitivity. Optical elements in small aperture experiments such as Bicep3 and Keck Array are designed to optimize throughput and minimize losses from transmission, reflection and scattering at millimeter wavelengths. As aperture size increases, cryostat vacuum windows must withstand larger forces from atmospheric pressure and the solution has often led to a thicker window at the expense of larger transmission loss. We have identified a new candidate material for the fabrication of vacuum windows: with a tensile strength two orders of magnitude larger than previously used materials, woven high-modulus polyethylene could allow for dramatically thinner windows, and therefore significantly reduced losses and higher sensitivity. In these proceedings we investigate the suitability of high-modulus polyethylene windows for ground-based CMB experiments, such as current and future receivers in the Bicep/Keck Array program. This includes characterizing their optical transmission as well as their mechanical behavior under atmospheric pressure. We find that such ultra-thin materials are promising candidates to improve the performance of large-aperture instruments at millimeter wavelengths, and outline a plan for further tests ahead of a possible upcoming field deployment of such a science-grade window.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX
EditorsJonas Zmuidzinas, Jian-Rong Gao
ISBN (Print)9781510619692
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Cosmic Microwave Background
  • Keck Array
  • Millimeter Wavelengths
  • Polarization
  • Polymer Materials
  • Primordial Gravitational Waves
  • Vacuum Windows


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