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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Oct 4;111(14):141301. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Detection of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background with data from the South Pole Telescope.

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1
Department of Physics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T8, Canada.

Abstract

Gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background generates a curl pattern in the observed polarization. This "B-mode" signal provides a measure of the projected mass distribution over the entire observable Universe and also acts as a contaminant for the measurement of primordial gravity-wave signals. In this Letter we present the first detection of gravitational lensing B modes, using first-season data from the polarization-sensitive receiver on the South Pole Telescope (SPTpol). We construct a template for the lensing B-mode signal by combining E-mode polarization measured by SPTpol with estimates of the lensing potential from a Herschel-SPIRE map of the cosmic infrared background. We compare this template to the B modes measured directly by SPTpol, finding a nonzero correlation at 7.7σ significance. The correlation has an amplitude and scale dependence consistent with theoretical expectations, is robust with respect to analysis choices, and constitutes the first measurement of a powerful cosmological observable.

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