Strategy to minimize dust foregrounds in B -mode searches

Ely D. Kovetz, Marc Kamionkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Planck satellite has identified several patches of sky with low polarized dust emission, obvious targets for searches for the cosmic microwave background B-mode signal from inflationary gravitational waves. Still, given the Planck measurement uncertainties, the polarized dust foregrounds in these different candidate patches may differ by an order of magnitude or more. Here we show that a brief initial experiment to map these candidate patches more deeply at a single high frequency can efficiently zero in on the cleanest patch(es) and thus improve significantly the sensitivity of subsequent B-mode searches. A ground-based experiment with current detector technology operating at 220GHz for three months can efficiently identify a low-dust-amplitude patch and thus improve by up to a factor 2 or 3 on the sensitivity to cosmic B modes of the subsequent lower-frequency deep integration. A balloon experiment with current detector sensitivities covering the set of patches and operating at ∼350GHz can reach a similar result in less than two weeks. This strategy may prove crucial in accessing the smallest gravitational-wave signals possible in large-field inflation. The high-frequency data from this exploratory experiment should also provide valuable foreground templates to subsequent experiments that integrate on any of the candidate patches explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number081303
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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