The Effects of Bandpass Variations on Foreground Removal Forecasts for Future CMB Experiments

J. T. Ward, D. Alonso, J. Errard, M. J. Devlin, M. Hasselfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Time-dependent and systematic variations in the band gain and central frequencies of instruments used to study the cosmic microwave background (CMB) are important factors in the data-to-map analysis pipeline. If not properly characterized, they could limit the ability of next-generation experiments to remove astrophysical foreground contamination. Uncertainties include the instrument detector band, which could systematically change across the focal plane, as well as the calibration of the instrument used to measure the bands. A potentially major effect is time-dependent bandpass uncertainties caused by atmospheric fluctuations. More specifically, changes in atmospheric conditions lead to frequency-dependent changes in the atmospheric transmission which, in turn, leads to variations in the effective gain and central frequency of the instrument's bandpass. Using atmospheric modeling software and ACTPol bandpasses, we simulate the expected variations in band gain and central frequency for 20, 40, 90, 150, and 240 GHz bands as a function of precipitable water vapor, observing angle, and ground temperature to set limits on the expected uncertainties in band gain and central frequency. We then introduce the uncertainties to parametric maximum-likelihood component separation methods on simulated CMB maps to forecast foreground removal performance and likelihoods on the tensor-to-scalar ratio r. We conclude that to confidently measure a σ(r = 0) ∼ 10-3 with a bias on the recovered r under control, the uncertainty in the relative gain of the bandpass must be less than 2% and the uncertainty in the central frequency must be less than 1%. We also comment on the possibility of self-calibrating bandpass uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number82
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Effects of Bandpass Variations on Foreground Removal Forecasts for Future CMB Experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this