Adele Zawada with John Ruhl
Developing New Techniques for Characterizing Optical Properties of Millimeter Wavelength Detectors
Characterization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a major focus of modern experimental research in cosmology and astrophysics. CMB photons carry important information that could expand our understanding about the origin and content of our universe. Therefore, current efforts in CMB research are focused on collecting data on these millimeter wavelength CMB photons. In order to do this effectively, the detectors used in these experiments must be precisely and extensively characterized. Unfortunately, the current methods of testing are slow and costly. Therefore, developing a new and more efficient testing method is a high priority for the next generation of CMB experiments and is the goal of my senior project. The first half of my project was focused on creating a fast solution that was not entirely comprehensive, but an improvement on the original testing methods. During the second part of my project, I switched my focus to a more ideal solution and worked on characterizing the polarization of reflective Neutral Density Filters (NDFs). These filters will be used in a testing operation that can obtain nearly all parameters in one run.