Context: The search for B-mode polarization fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background is one of the main challenges of modern cosmology. The expected level of the B-mode signal is very low and therefore requires the development of highly sensitive instruments with low systematic errors. An appealing possibility is bolometric interferometry.
Aims: We compare in this article the sensitivity on the CMB angular power spectrum achieved with direct imaging, heterodyne and bolometric interferometry.
Methods: Using a simple power spectrum estimator, we calculate its variance leading to the counterpart for bolometric interferometry of the well known Knox formula for direct imaging.
Results: We find that bolometric interferometry is less sensitive than direct imaging. However, as expected, it is finally more sensitive than heterodyne interferometry due to the low noise of the bolometers. It therefore appears as an alternative to direct imagers with different and possibly lower systematic errors, mainly due to the absence of an optical setup in front of the horns.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- December 2008
- cosmology: cosmic microwave background;
- cosmology: early Universe;
- methods: data analysis;
- 5 pages, 3 figures. This last version matches the published version (Astronomy and Astrophysics 491 3 (2008) 923-927). Sensitivity of Heterodyne Interferometers modified by a factor of two