ASC-2014 SQUIDs 50th Anniversary: 6 of 6 - Kent Irwin - SQUIDs as detectors for cosmology
SQUIDs and superconducting detectors are now widely deployed in cosmic microwave background (CMB) telescopes, which has led to a dramatic improvement in the sensitivity of CMB measurements. The BICEP-2 experiment at the South Pole recently reported the most sensitive measurement to date of the polarization of the CMB, and the first detection of a curl, or "B-mode" pattern in the polarization of the CMB at degree angular scales. Primordial B-mode polarization is the distinctive signature of gravitational waves from inflation at the energy scale of Grand Unification, but additional non-primordial sources of B-mode polarization also exist, including polarized dust and gravitational lensing. I will describe the role of SQUIDs and superconducting detectors in reaching this important milestone, and their use in efforts to further understand B-mode signals in the CMB. Constraints on both primordial and gravitational-lensing B-mode signals will play an increasingly important role in our understanding of inflation, the properties of neutrinos, and the fundamental physics of the universe.
Perspectives on the 50th Anniversary of SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices) by Kent Irwin, with focus on their use as superconducting detectors in cosmology.