Princeton University Dark Cosmos Seminar

Probing Inflation from Antarctica: Improving Cosmology Constraints with the Cosmic Microwave Background and Line Intensity Mapping

Abstract: Inflation, the theory describing a period of exponential superluminal expansion in the early universe, is both a proposed solution to the large-scale structure we see in our night sky and a mystery of which we have little experimental evidence. In this talk, I will describe two ways to experimentally constrain the dynamics of inflation : the cosmic microwave background, and line intensity mapping. First, I will describe how the imprint of inflation may exist in the oldest light in the universe, the cosmic microwave background. I will present noise reduction techniques to increase sensitivity from current generation large-aperture telescope surveys using data from the South Pole Telescope, and propose ways to increase sensitivity to inflation by combining data from the large and small telescopes for CMB-S4. Second, I will describe a new cosmology technique, Line Intensity Mapping (LIM), which will be able to probe the middle ages of the universe's history to map an evolving 3D cube of time from 11 billion years in the past to the present. The large number of modes in these data will provide a unique window into the dynamics of the inflationary field(s). I will describe the cameras and analysis techniques I am working on to make some of the first LIM measurements with the South Pole Telescope Summertime Line Intensity Mapper and the Terahertz Intensity Mapper. These first-gen cameras will be deployed on telescopes as far as the South Pole and as high as near-space orbit.  These data will be a proof-of-concept that will provide precedent for technology and analysis techniques in this growing field for years to come.

Date & Time

April 30, 2024 | 4:00pm – 5:00pm


Jadwin Hall, Joe Henry Room


Jessica Avva Zebrowski, University of Chicago