PILOT: optical performance and end-to-end characterisation

Abstract : PILOT (Polarized Instrument for the Long-wavelength Observations of the Tenuous ISM), is a balloon-borne astronomy experiment dedicated to study the polarization of dust emission from the diffuse ISM in our Galaxy [1]. The observations of PILOT have two major scientific objectives. Firstly, they will allow us to constrain the large-scale geometry of the magnetic field in our Galaxy and to study in details the alignment properties of dust grains with respect to the magnetic field. In this domain, the measurements of PILOT will complement those of the Planck satellite at longer wavelengths. In particular, they will bring information at a better angular resolution, which is critical in crowded regions such as the Galactic plane. They will allow us to better understand how the magnetic field is shaping the ISM material on large scale in molecular clouds, and the role it plays in the gravitational collapse leading to star formation. Secondly, the PILOT observations will allow us to measure for the first time the polarized dust emission towards the most diffuse regions of the sky, where the measurements are the most easily interpreted in terms of the physics of dust. In this particular domain, PILOT will play a role for future CMB missions similar to that played by the Archeops experiment for Planck. The results of PILOT will allow us to gain knowledge about the magnetic properties of dust grains and about the structure of the magnetic field in the diffuse ISM that is necessary to a precise foreground subtraction in future polarized CMB measurements. The PILOT measurements, combined with those of Planck at longer wavelengths, will therefore allow us to further constrain the dust models. The outcome of such studies will likely impact the instrumental and technical choices for the future space missions dedicated to CMB polarization.

The PILOT instrument will allow observations in two photometric channels at wavelengths 240 μm and 550 μm, with an angular resolution of a few arcminutes. We will make use of large format bolometer arrays, developed for the PACS instrument on board the Herschel satellite. With 1024 detectors per photometric channel and photometric band optimized for the measurement of dust emission, PILOT is likely to become the most sensitive experiment for this type of measurements. The PILOT experiment will take advantage of the large gain in sensitivity allowed by the use of large format, filled bolometer arrays at frequencies more favorable to the detection of dust emission.

This paper presents the optical design, optical characterization and its performance. We begin with a presentation of the instrument and the optical system and then we summarise the main optical tests performed. In section III, we present preliminary end-to-end test results.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
International Conference on Space Optics, Oct 2016, Biarrity, France. Proc.SPIE Int.Soc.Opt.Eng., 10563, pp.105635X, 2017, 〈10.1117/12.2304278〉
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Y. Longval, R. Misawa, P. Ade, Y. André, P. De Bernardis, et al.. PILOT: optical performance and end-to-end characterisation. International Conference on Space Optics, Oct 2016, Biarrity, France. Proc.SPIE Int.Soc.Opt.Eng., 10563, pp.105635X, 2017, 〈10.1117/12.2304278〉. 〈hal-01669623〉



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