CMB B-mode experiments are required to control systematic effects with an unprecedented level of accuracy. Polarization modulation by a half wave plate (HWP) is a powerful technique able to mitigate a large number of the instrumental systematics. Our goal is to optimize the polarization modulation strategy of the upcoming LSPE-SWIPE balloon-borne experiment, devoted to the accurate measurement of CMB polarization at large angular scales. We depart from the nominal LSPE-SWIPE modulation strategy (HWP stepped every 60 s with a telescope scanning at around 12 deg/s) and perform a thorough investigation of a wide range of possible HWP schemes (either in stepped or continuously spinning mode and at different azimuth telescope scan-speeds) in the frequency, map and angular power spectrum domain. In addition, we probe the effect of high-pass and band-pass filters of the data stream and explore the HWP response in the minimal case of one detector for one operation day (critical for the single-detector calibration process). We finally test the modulation performance against typical HWP-induced systematics. Our analysis shows that some stepped HWP schemes, either slowly rotating or combined with slow telescope modulations, represent poor choices. Moreover, our results point out that the nominal configuration may not be the most convenient choice. While a large class of spinning designs provides comparable results in terms of pixel angle coverage, map-making residuals and BB power spectrum standard deviations with respect to the nominal strategy, we find that some specific configurations (e.g., a rapidly spinning HWP with a slow gondola modulation) allow a more efficient polarization recovery in more general real-case situations. Although our simulations are specific to the LSPE-SWIPE mission, the general outcomes of our analysis can be easily generalized to other CMB polarization experiments.
A. Buzzelli, P. Bernardis, S. Masi, et. al.
Fri, 15 Sep 17
Comments: 11 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in A&A