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Planck pre-launch status: Expected LFI polarisation capability

Abstract : We present a system-level description of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) considered as a differencing polarimeter, and evaluate its expected performance. The LFI is one of the two instruments on board the ESA Planck mission to study the cosmic microwave background. It consists of a set of 22 radiometers sensitive to linear polarisation, arranged in orthogonally-oriented pairs connected to 11 feed horns operating at 30, 44 and 70 GHz. In our analysis, the generic Jones and Mueller-matrix formulations for polarimetry are adapted to the special case of the LFI. Laboratory measurements of flight components are combined with optical simulations of the telescope to investigate the values and uncertainties in the system parameters affecting polarisation response. Methods of correcting residual systematic errors are also briefly discussed. The LFI has beam-integrated polarisation efficiency >99% for all detectors, with uncertainties below 0.1%. Indirect assessment of polarisation position angles suggests that uncertainties are generally less than 0.5°, and this will be checked in flight using observations of the Crab nebula. Leakage of total intensity into the polarisation signal is generally well below the thermal noise level except for bright Galactic emission, where the dominant effect is likely to be spectral-dependent terms due to bandpass mismatch between the two detectors behind each feed, contributing typically 1-3% leakage of foreground total intensity. Comparable leakage from compact features occurs due to beam mismatch, but this averages to < 5 × 10-4 for large-scale emission. An inevitable feature of the LFI design is that the two components of the linear polarisation are recovered from elliptical beams which differ substantially in orientation. This distorts the recovered polarisation and its angular power spectrum, and several methods are being developed to correct the effect, both in the power spectrum and in the sky maps. The LFI will return a high-quality measurement of the CMB polarisation, limited mainly by thermal noise. To meet our aspiration of measuring polarisation at the 1% level, further analysis of flight and ground data is required. We are still researching the most effective techniques for correcting subtle artefacts in polarisation; in particular the correction of bandpass mismatch effects is a formidable challenge, as it requires multi-band analysis to estimate the spectral indices that control the leakage.
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Contributor : Yannick Giraud-Héraud <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - 2:20:55 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 4:32:14 PM

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J.P. Leahy, M. Bersanelli, O. d'Arcangelo, K. Ganga, S.M. Leach, et al.. Planck pre-launch status: Expected LFI polarisation capability. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2010, 520, pp.A8. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/200912855⟩. ⟨in2p3-00714406⟩



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