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HEP Seminar: Cosmology, superconducting technology, and the South Pole Telescope

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Clarence Chang, Argonne National Laboratory
11 December 2013 from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
339 Davey Laboratory
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 I will describe a program of cosmological research using the
South Pole Telescope (SPT), a mm-wave observatory located at the
geographic south pole. SPT measures the CMB to explore fundamental
physics: What is the physics of inflation? How does cosmology connect with
neutrino physics? How do we understand Dark Energy? I will begin with
highlighting a few results from the completed 2500 square-degree "SPT-SZ"
survey. The unprecedented sensitivity, area, and resolution of these data
have produced ground-breaking measurements of the CMB anisotropy and
gravitational lensing along with the first discovery of galaxy clusters
via the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect. I will then discuss the currently
running "SPT-POL" experiment. The first season of SPT-POL data yielded the
first ever detection of CMB B-mode polarization from gravitational
lensing. I will also present an overview of the third generation camera,
SPT-3G, and discuss plans for a subsequent larger ground-based CMB
program. Critical to the success of the SPT and future CMB experiments is
the ongoing development of Transition Edge Sensor (TES) technology,
originally invented for Dark Matter detection. The immense sensitivity of
TES-based focal planes together with large high-resolution telescopes,
like the SPT, has opened up a new era in CMB science. Throughout this
talk, I will highlight the central role of ongoing detector development
and articulate how this technology connects to the unique capabilities of
CMB experiments to address the problems of Dark Energy, neutrino
cosmology, and inflation.