A half-wave plate (HWP) is often used as a modulator to suppress systematic error in the measurements of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization. A HWP can also be used to measure circular polarization (CP) through its optical leakage from CP to linear polarization. The CP of the CMB is predicted from various sources, such as interactions in the Universe and extension of the standard model. Interaction with supernova remnants of population III stars is one of the brightest CP sources. Thus, the observation of the CP of CMB is a new tool for searching for population III stars. In this paper, we demonstrate the improved measurement of the leakage coefficient using the transmission measurement of an actual HWP in the laboratory. We measured the transmittance of linearly polarized light through the HWP used in Polarbear in the frequency range of 120–160 GHz. We evaluate the properties of the HWP by fitting the data with a physical model using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. We then estimate the band-averaged CP leakage coefficient using the physical model. We find that the leakage coefficient strongly depends on the spectra of CP sources. We thus calculate the maximum fractional leakage coefficient from CP to linear polarization as 0.133 ± 0.009 in the Rayleigh–Jeans spectrum. The nonzero value shows that Polarbear has a sensitivity to CP. Additionally, because we use the bandpass of detectors installed in the telescope to calculate the band-averaged values, we also consider systematic effects in the experiment.
Characterization of a half-wave plate for cosmic microwave background circular polarization measurement with POLARBEAR
T. Fujino, S. Takakura, Y. Chinone, M. Hasegawa, M. Hazumi, N. Katayama, A. T. Lee, T. Matsumura, Y. Minami, H. Nishino; Characterization of a half-wave plate for cosmic microwave background circular polarization measurement with POLARBEAR. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1 June 2023; 94 (6): 064502. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0140088
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