106 research outputs found

    Primordial Non-Gaussianity in the Cosmic Microwave Background

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    In the last few decades, advances in observational cosmology have given us a standard model of cosmology. We know the content of the universe to within a few percent. With more ambitious experiments on the way, we hope to move beyond the knowledge of what the universe is made of, to why the universe is the way it is. In this review paper we focus on primordial non-Gaussianity as a probe of the physics of the dynamics of the universe at the very earliest moments. We discuss 1) theoretical predictions from inflationary models and their observational consequences in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies; 2) CMB--based estimators for constraining primordial non-Gaussianity with an emphasis on bispectrum templates; 3) current constraints on non-Gaussianity and what we can hope to achieve in the near future; and 4) non-primordial sources of non-Gaussianities in the CMB such as bispectrum due to second order effects, three way cross-correlation between primary-lensing-secondary CMB, and possible instrumental effects.Comment: 27 pages, 8 figures; Invited Review for the Journal "Advances in Astronomy"; references adde

    Constraining a spatially dependent rotation of the Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization

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    Following Kamionkowski (2008), a quadratic estimator of the rotation of the plane of polarization of the CMB is constructed. This statistic can estimate a spatially varying rotation angle. We use this estimator to quantify the prospects of detecting such a rotation field with forthcoming experiments. For PLANCK and CMBPol we find that the estimator containing the product of the E and B components of the polarization field is the most sensitive. The variance of this EB estimator, N(L) is roughly independent of the multipole L, and is only weakly dependent on the instrumental beam. For FWHM of the beam size ~ 5'-50', and instrument noise $\Delta_p ~ 5-50 uK-arcmin, the scaling of variance N(L) can be fitted by a power law N(L)=3.3 x 10^{-7} \Delta^2_p (FWHM)^{1.3} sq-deg. For small instrumental noise \Delta_p \leq 5 uK-arcmin, the lensing B-modes become important, saturating the variance to ~10^{-6} sq-deg even for an ideal experiment. Upcoming experiments like PLANCK will be able to detect a power spectrum of the rotation angle, C^{\alpha \alpha}(L), as small as 0.01 sq-deg, while futuristic experiment like CMBPol will be able to detect rotation angle power spectrum as small as 2.5 x 10^{-5} sq-deg. We discuss the implications of such constraints, both for the various physical effects that can rotate the polarization as photons travel from the last scattering surface as well as for constraints on instrumental systematics that can also lead to a spurious rotation signal. Rotation of the CMB polarization generates B-modes which will act as contamination for the primordial B-modes detection. We discuss an application of our estimator to de-rotate the CMB to increase the sensitivity for the primordial B-modes.Comment: 11 pages, 5 figure

    Detection of primordial non-Gaussianity (fNL) in the WMAP 3-year data at above 99.5% confidence

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    We present evidence for the detection of primordial non-Gaussianity of the local type (fNL), using the temperature information of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) from the WMAP 3-year data. We employ the bispectrum estimator of non-Gaussianity described in (Yadav et al. 2007) which allows us to analyze the entirety of the WMAP data without an arbitrary cut-off in angular scale. Using the combined information from WMAP's two main science channels up to lmax=750 and the conservative Kp0 foreground mask we find 27 < fNL < 147 at 95% C.L., with a central value of fNL=87. This corresponds to a rejection of fNL=0 at more than 99.5% significance. We find that this detection is robust to variations in lmax, frequency and masks, and that no known foreground, instrument systematic, or secondary anisotropy explains our signal while passing our suite of tests. We explore the impact of several analysis choices on the stated significance and find 2.5 sigma for the most conservative view. We conclude that the WMAP 3-year data disfavors canonical single field slow-roll inflation.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures, 1 tables, submitted to PRL, references added. New version has several additional tests and systematic error estimates. Results largely unchange

    Higher-Order Gravitational Lensing Reconstruction using Feynman Diagrams

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    We develop a method for calculating the correlation structure of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) using Feynman diagrams, when the CMB has been modified by gravitational lensing, Faraday rotation, patchy reionization, or other distorting effects. This method is used to calculate the bias of the Hu-Okamoto quadratic estimator in reconstructing the lensing power spectrum up to O(\phi^4) in the lensing potential ϕ\phi. We consider both the diagonal noise TTTT, EBEB, etc. and, for the first time, the off-diagonal noise TTTE, TBEB, etc. The previously noted large O(\phi^4) term in the second order noise is identified to come from a particular class of diagrams. It can be significantly reduced by a reorganization of the ϕ\phi expansion. These improved estimators have almost no bias for the off-diagonal case involving only one BB component of the CMB, such as EEEB.Comment: 17 pages, 17 figure

    Gravitational Lensing of the CMB: a Feynman Diagram Approach

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    We develop a Feynman diagram approach to calculating correlations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) in the presence of distortions. As one application, we focus on CMB distortions due to gravitational lensing by Large Scale Structure (LSS). We study the Hu-Okamoto quadratic estimator for extracting lensing from the CMB and derive the noise of the estimator up to O(ϕ4){\mathcal O}(\phi^4) in the lensing potential ϕ\phi. The previously noted large O(ϕ4){\mathcal O}(\phi^4) term can be significantly reduced by a reorganization of the ϕ\phi expansion. Our approach makes it simple to obtain expressions for quadratic estimators based on any CMB channel. We briefly discuss other applications to cosmology of this diagrammatic approach, such as distortions of the CMB due to patchy reionization, or due to Faraday rotation from primordial axion fields.Comment: 5 pages, 8 figures, v2: journal versio

    Fast Estimator of Primordial Non-Gaussianity from Temperature and Polarization Anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background

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    Measurements of primordial non-Gaussianity (fNLf_{NL}) open a new window onto the physics of inflation. We describe a fast cubic (bispectrum) estimator of fNLf_{NL}, using a combined analysis of temperature and polarization observations. The speed of our estimator allows us to use a sufficient number of Monte Carlo simulations to characterize its statistical properties in the presence of real world issues such as instrumental effects, partial sky coverage, and foreground contamination. We find that our estimator is optimal, where optimality is defined by saturation of the Cramer Rao bound, if noise is homogeneous. Our estimator is also computationally efficient, scaling as O(N3/2)O(N^{3/2}) compared to the O(N5/2)O(N^{5/2}) scaling of the brute force bispectrum calculation for sky maps with NN pixels. For Planck this translates into a speed-up by factors of millions, reducing the required computing time from thousands of years to just hours and thus making fNLf_{NL} estimation feasible for future surveys. Our estimator in its current form is optimal if noise is homogeneous. In future work our fast polarized bispectrum estimator should be extended to deal with inhomogeneous noise in an analogous way to how the existing fast temperature estimator was generalized.Comment: Submitted to Ap