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List of cosmic microwave background experiments

A comparison of the sensitivity of WMAP with COBE and Penzias and Wilson's telescope. Simulated data. There have been a variety of experiments to measure the Cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation anisotropies and polarization since its first observation in 1964 by Penzias and Wilson. These include a mix of ground-, balloon- and space-based receivers. The most notable of these are COBE, which first detected the temperature anisotropies of the CMB, and showed that it had a black body spectrum; DASI, which first detected the polarization signal from the CMB; CBI that made high-resolution observations and obtained the first E-mode polarization spectrum and WMAP, which has provided the best full-sky CMB maps to date. Planned future experiments include the Planck spacecraft, which aims to produce high-resolution all-sky maps of both the temperature anisotropies and polarization signals, and various ground-based experiments primarily intended to investigate small-scale anisotropies and trying to detect the polarization caused by gravitational waves in the early universe.The design of cosmic microwave background experiments is a very challenging task. The greatest problems are the receivers, the telescope optics and the atmosphere. Many improved microwave amplifier technologies have been designed for microwave background applications. Some technologies used are HEMT, MMIC, SIS and bolometers. Experiments generally use elaborate cryogenic systems to keep the amplifiers cool. Often, experiments are interferometers which only measure the spatial fluctuations in signals on the sky, and are insensitive to the average 2.7 K background.Another problem is the 1/f noise intrinsic to all detectors. Usually the experimental scan strategy is designed to minimize the effect of such noise. To minimize side lobes, microwave optics usually utilize elaborate lenses and feed horns. Finally, the atmosphere is an issue because water absorbs microwave radiation (a fact utilized in the operation of microwave ovens), it is rather difficult to observe the microwave background with ground-based instruments. CMB research therefore makes increasing use of air and space-borne experiments. Ground-based observations are usually made from dry, high altitude locations such as the Chilean Andes and the South Pole.The list below consists of a partial list of past, current and planned CMB experiments. The name, start and end years of each experiment are given, followed by the basis of the experiment—whether space, balloon or ground based—and the location where appropriate. The frequency and amplifier technologies used are given, as is the main targets of the experiments.{| class="wikitable sortable"|-! style="width: 10%;" class="unsortable" | Image! style="width: 30%;" | Name! style="width: 5%;" | Start! style="width: 5%;" | End! style="width: 5%;" | Basis! style="width: 10%;" | Location! style="width: 5%;" | Frequency (GHz)! style="width: 10%;" | Amplifier technology! style="width: 12%;" class="unsortable" | Targets! style="width: 3%;" class="unsortable" | Ref(s)|-| | Advanced Cosmic Microwave Explorer (ACME) Also HACME: HEMT+ACME| style="text-align: center;" | 1988| style="text-align: center;" | 1996| Ground| | 26–35; 38–45| HEMT| Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Antarctic Plateau Anisotropy Chasing Experiment (APACHE)| style="text-align: center;" | 1995| style="text-align: center;" | 1996| Ground| Antarctic| 100, 150, 250| Bolometer| Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission (ARCADE)| style="text-align: center;" | 2001| style="text-align: center;" | —| Balloon| | 3, 5, 7, 10, 30, 90| HEMT| CMB Spectrum| |-| | Archeops| style="text-align: center;" | 1999| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| Balloon| | 143, 217, 353, 545| Bolometer| Measured large and intermediate scale with improved precision at the larger scales.| |-| | Arcminute Cosmology Bolometer Array Receiver (ACBAR)| style="text-align: center;" | 2001| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 150, 219, 274| Bolometer| Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Arcminute Microkelvin Imager (AMI)| style="text-align: center;" | 2005| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| UK: Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory| 12-18| Interferometer| SZ effect, Temperature anisotropies| |-| | ARGO| style="text-align: center;" | 1988, 1990, 1993| style="text-align: center;" | 1993| Balloon| | 150-600| Bolometer| | |-| | Array for Microwave Background Anisotropy (AMiBA)| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Hawaii: Mauna Loa| 86-102| MMIC| SZ effect; Polarization| |-| | Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT)| style="text-align: center;" | 2007| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Chile: Atacama Desert| 145, 225, 265| Bolometer| Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX)| style="text-align: center;" | 2005| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 150, 217| Bolometer| Temperature anisotropies; SZ effect| |-| | Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA)| style="text-align: center;" | 1991| style="text-align: center;" | 1997| Ground| | 8.7| HEMT| | |-| | Background Emission Anisotropy Scanning Telescope (BEAST)| style="text-align: center;" | 2000| style="text-align: center;" | —| Balloon, Ground| | 25-35; 38-45| HEMT| A ground single dish CMB observatory at the University of California's White Mountain Peak Research station.| |-| | Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP)| style="text-align: center;" | 2006| style="text-align: center;" | 2008| Ground| South Pole| 100, 150| Bolometer| Will measure large scale polarization with improved precision.| |-| | Balloon-borne Anisotropy Measurement (BAM)| style="text-align: center;" | 1995| style="text-align: center;" | 1998| Balloon| UBC Balloon Expt| 110-250| Spectrometer| Used differential Fourier Transform Spectrometer to measure degree scale anisotropy| |-| | Balloon-borne Radiometers for Sky Polarisation Observations (BaR-SPoRT)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Balloon|| 32, 90| Polarizer / OMT| | |-| | Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association (BIMA)| style="text-align: center;" | 1986| style="text-align: center;" | 2004| Ground| | 70-116; 210-270| SIS| | |-| | BOOMERanG experiment| style="text-align: center;" | 1997| style="text-align: center;" | 2003| Balloon| Long-duration balloon above Antarctica| 90-420| Bolometer| Measured intermediate scale fluctuations with improved precision.| |-| | B-mode RAdiation INterferometer (BRAIN)| style="text-align: center;" | Never| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Dome-C, Antarctica| | | | |-| | Clover| style="text-align: center;" | Never| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 97, 150, 230| Bolometer| Will measure the small scale fluctuations with improved precision, and the B-mode polarization.| |-|COBRA | Cobra| style="text-align: center;" | 1982| style="text-align: center;" | 1990| Sounding Rocket| University of British Columbia| 15-800| Bolometers/ FTS| Measured spectrum of CMB | |-|| Cosmic Anisotropy Polarization Mapper (CAPMAP)| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 40, 90| MMIC/HEMT| | |-| | Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope (CAT)| style="text-align: center;" | 1994| style="text-align: center;" | 1997| Ground| Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory| 13-17| Interferometer / HEMT| Measured the very small scale fluctuations in small regions of the sky.| |-| | Cosmic Background Imager (CBI)| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | 2008| Ground| Llano de Chajnantor Observatory, Chile| 26-36| HEMT| Measured the very small scale fluctuations with improved precision in small regions of the sky and polarization of CMB.| |-| | COSMOSOMAS| style="text-align: center;" | 1998| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Teide Observatory, Tenerife, Spain| 10-18| HEMT| Circular scanning experiments for CMB and foregrounds in Tenerife.| |-| | Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)| style="text-align: center;" | 1989| style="text-align: center;" | 1993| Space| Earth orbit| | | Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Cosmological Gene| style="text-align: center;" | 1999| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 0.6 to 32| HEMT|| |-| | Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI)| style="text-align: center;" | 1999| style="text-align: center;" | 2003| Ground| | 26-36| HEMT| A temperature and polarization telescope at the South Pole.| |-| | The E and B Experiment (EBEX)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Balloon| Antarctica| 150-450| Bolometer| Detection of the inflationary gravitational-wave background (IGB) signal is a primary goal of the EBEX experiment| |-| | Far Infra-Red Survey (FIRS)| style="text-align: center;" | 1989| style="text-align: center;" | 1989| Balloon|| 170-680| Bolometer|| |-| | KU-band Polarization IDentifier (KUPID)| style="text-align: center;" | 2003| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 12-18| HEMT| | |-| | Medium Scale Anisotropy Measurement (MSAM)| style="text-align: center;" | 1992| style="text-align: center;" | 1997| Balloon| | 150-650| Bolometer| | |-| | Millimeter Anisotropy eXperiment IMaging Array (MAXIMA)| style="text-align: center;" | 1995, 1998, 1999| style="text-align: center;" | 1999| Balloon| Near Palestine, Texas| 150-420| Bolometer| Measured intermediate scale fluctuations with improved precision.| |-| | Millimeter Interferometer (MINT)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 150| SIS| | |-| | Millimeter-Wave Bolometric Interferometer (MBI-B)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 90| Bolometer| | |-| | Mobile Anisotropy Telescope (MAT)| style="text-align: center;" | 1997, 1998| style="text-align: center;" | 1998| Ground| | 30-140| HEMT / SIS| | |-| | Planck| style="text-align: center;" | 2009| style="text-align: center;" | —| Space| Lagrange 2| 30-857| HEMT / Bolometer| Polarization; Temperature anisotropies; Foregrounds| |-| | Polarization Observations of Large Angular Regions (POLAR)| style="text-align: center;" | 2000| style="text-align: center;" | 2000| Ground| | 26-46| HEMT| | |-| | Polarization of Background Microwave Radiation (POLARBeaR)| style="text-align: center;" | 2011| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Chajnantor plateau (Chile)| 150 - 220| Antenna-coupled TES| CMB Polarization. Primordial and lensed B-modes.| |-| | Polatron| style="text-align: center;" | Never| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 100| Bolometer| | |-| | Princeton I, Q, and U Experiment (PIQUE)| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| Balloon| | 90| Bolometer| | |-| | Python| style="text-align: center;" | 1992| style="text-align: center;" | 1997| Ground| | 30-90| HEMT / Bolometer| | |-| | QMAP| style="text-align: center;" | 1996| style="text-align: center;" | 1996| Ground| | 30-140| HEMT / SIS| | |-| | QUaD| style="text-align: center;" | 2005| style="text-align: center;" | 2007| Ground| South Pole| 100, 150| Bolometer| Measured intermediate scale polarization with improved precision.| |-| | Qubic| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 97, 150, 230| Bolometer| Will measure the B-mode polarization on intermediate scale.| |-|| Q/U Imaging ExperimenT (QUIET)| style="text-align: center;" | 2008| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| Llano de Chajnantor Observatory, Chile| 40, 90| HEMT|| |-| | RELIKT-1| style="text-align: center;" | 1983| style="text-align: center;" | 1984| Space| Earth orbit| | | Temperature anisotropies| |-| | Saskatoon experiment| style="text-align: center;" | 1993| style="text-align: center;" | 1995| Ground| Saskatchewan| 26-46| HEMT| | |-| | Sky Polarization Observatory (SPOrt)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Space| International Space Station| | | Polarization| |-| | South Pole Telescope| style="text-align: center;" | 2006| style="text-align: center;" | | Ground| South Pole| | | Will measure the small scale fluctuations and polarization.| |-| | SPIDER| style="text-align: center;" | 2011| style="text-align: center;" | | Balloon| | 90, 150, 220| Bolometer| Will measure very large scale polarization.| |-| | Sunyaev-Zeldovich Array (SZA)| style="text-align: center;" | Future| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 26-36; 85-115| Interferometer| SZ effect| |-| | Sunyaev-Zeldovich Infrared Experiment (SuZIE)| style="text-align: center;" | 1996| style="text-align: center;" | —| Ground| | 150, 220, 350| Bolometer| SZ effect| |-| | Tenerife Experiment| style="text-align: center;" | 1984| style="text-align: center;" | 2000| Ground| Tenerife| 10, 15, 33| HEMT| | |-| | TopHat| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | —| Balloon| | 150-720| Bolometer| | |-| | Very Small Array| style="text-align: center;" | 2002| style="text-align: center;" | 2008| Ground| | 26-36| Interferometer / HEMT| Measured intermediate and small scale fluctuations with improved precision in small regions of the sky.| |-| | Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)| style="text-align: center;" | 2001| style="text-align: center;" | —| Space| Lagrange 2| 23-94| HEMT| Temperature anisotropies; Polarization| |}
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