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The Primordial Inflation Explorer (PIXIE)The Primordial Inflation Explorer is an Explorer-class mission to measure the gravity-wave signature of primordial inflation through its distinctive imprint on the linear polarization of the cosmic microwave background. PIXIE uses an innovative optical design to achieve background-limited sensitivity in 400 spectral channels spanning 2.5 decades in frequency from 30 GHz to 6 THz (1 cm to 50 micron wavelength). Multi-moded non-imaging optics feed a polarizing Fourier Transform Spectrometer to produce a set of interference fringes, proportional to the difference spectrum between orthogonal linear polarizations from the two input beams. Multiple levels of symmetry and signal modulation combine to reduce the instrumental signature and confusion from unpolarized sources to negligible levels. PIXIE will map the full sky in Stokes I, Q, and U parameters with angular resolution 2.6 deg and sensitivity 0.2 μK per 1 deg square pixel. The principal science goal is the detection and characterization of linear polarization from an inflationary epoch in the early universe, with tensor-to-scalar ratio r less than 10(exp −3) at 5 standard deviations. In addition, PIXIE will measure the absolute frequency spectrum to constrain physical processes ranging from inflation to the nature of the first stars to the physical conditions within the interstellar medium of the Galaxy. We describe the PIXIE instrument and mission architecture with an emphasis on the expected level of systematic error suppression.
Document ID
20150000294
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Kogut, Alan (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Chuss, David T. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Dotson, Jessie (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Dwek, Eli (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Fixsen, Dale J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Halpern, Mark (British Columbia Univ. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Hinshaw, Gary F. (British Columbia Univ. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Meyer, Stephan (Chicago Univ. Chicago, IL, United States)
Moseley, S. Harvey (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Seiffert, Michael D. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Spergel, David N. (Princeton Univ. Princeton, NJ, United States)
Wollack, Edward J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
January 8, 2015
Publication Date
June 22, 2014
Subject Category
Astronomy
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN18504
Meeting Information
SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation(Montreal)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNG06EO9A
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
Primordial Inflation Explorer is an Explorer-class mission
cosmic microwave background
orthogonal linear polarizations

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