BICEP1 Science

The goal of better understanding the origins of the Universe requires probing this epoch of Inflation directly. The most promising probe of Inflation is the unique signature that the Gravitational Wave Background (GWB) imprints on the polarization of the CMB.

The amplitude of this signature depends on the energy-scale of Inflation. If the energy scale is typical of Grand Unification Theory (GUT, 10^16 GeV), the signature may be detectable.

The signature of the GWB-induced polarization is expected to be less than an rms amplitude of ~300 nK of the CMB; more than two orders of magnitude below the amplitude of the temperature anisotropies that have only recently been resolved over the full-sky by the Planck satellite.

Photo Credit to JPL. Click to enlarge.

Detection will require only modest angular resolution (~ 1 deg.), but will require long integration (~3 years) on a restricted (~3%) and contiguous patch of sky.

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