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A cryogenic rotation stage with a large clear aperture for the half-wave plates in the Spider instrument

Bryan, S., Ade, Peter and Tucker, Carole 2016. A cryogenic rotation stage with a large clear aperture for the half-wave plates in the Spider instrument. Review of Scientific Instruments 87 (1) , 014501.

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Abstract

We describe the cryogenic half-wave plate rotation mechanisms built for and used in Spider, a polarization-sensitive balloon-borne telescope array that observed the cosmic microwave background at 95 GHz and 150 GHz during a stratospheric balloon flight from Antarctica in January 2015. The mechanisms operate at liquid helium temperature in flight. A three-point contact design keeps the mechanical bearings relatively small but allows for a large (305 mm) diameter clear aperture. A worm gear driven by a cryogenic stepper motor allows for precise positioning and prevents undesired rotation when the motors are depowered. A custom-built optical encoder system monitors the bearing angle to an absolute accuracy of ±0.1∘. The system performed well in Spider during its successful 16 day flight.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
ISSN: 0034-6748
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2016
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 16:44
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/104410

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