ACT: The Atacama Cosmology Telescope


ACTPol is a new receiver for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), capable of making polarization-sensitive, millimeter-wavelength observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) at arcminute angular scales. ACT is a six-meter telescope located at an elevation of 5190m (17,000 ft) in northern Chile, dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the structure and evolution of the early Universe by direct measurement of the CMB. The ACTPol focal plane at full-deployment, consists of dual 150 GHz array package modules and a multichroic array package with simultaneous 90 GHz and 150 GHz sensitivity. Each of these detector array packages resides behind a set of custom-designed, high-purity silicon reimaging optics with a novel anti-reflective coating geometry, the characteristics of which will be detailed. Each array package module consists of ~1000 transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometers used to measure the response of ~500 feedhorn-coupled polarimeters, enabling characterization of the linear orthogonal polarization of incident CMB radiation.

The polarimeters are arranged in three hexagonal and three semi-hexagonal silicon wafer stacks, mechanically coupled to an octakaidecagonal, monolithic corrugated silicon feedhorn array (~140 mm diameter). Readout of the TES polarimeters is achieved using time-division SQUID multiplexing. Each array package is cooled using a custom-designed dilution refrigerator providing a 100 mK bath temperature to the detectors, which have a target Tc of 150 mK. Given the unique cryomechanical constraints associated with this large-scale monolithic superconducting focal plane, unique design considerations are necessary for integration with the optical and cryogenic elements of the ACTPol receiver. First light was achieved on 18 July 2013 with a set of calibration measurements of Saturn. After roughly six-weeks of calibration and commissioning measurements, normal observing operations commenced in September 2013 with priority given to ACTPol's deep field targets for first season, PA1-level-deployment cosmology operations.