CLOVER. Measuring Gravitational Waves from Inflation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a radiation emitted in the very early Universe. It tells us that the Universe has beginning in Time. Measurements to date of the intensity of the CMB are consistent with the inflationary theory of the origin of the Universe, however there is much still to learn. Structures - galaxies, clusters and super-clusters of galaxies - that we see in the sky are generated by primordial quantum fluctuations during an expotential expansion phase during the first fraction of a second of the existance of the Universe. These primordial quantum fluctuations are the source of a background of gravitational waves, which in turn generates a signature on the polarisation of the CMB, known as B-modes. Clover, a UK-led experiment baed in the Antarctic continent, will provide the first, high-sensitivity, measurement of the spectrum of this B-mode signature. toa chieve this high-sensitivity, new world class technologies are being developed in the UK.

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