The QUBIC Observatory was inaugurated on Wednesday November 23rd at its 5000m a.s.l. site in Alto Corrillos, Salta Province, Argentina. A collaboration between France, Italy, Argentina, United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, QUBIC is dedicated to the Cosmic Microwave Background polarimetry, more specifically seeking for the B-mode polarization. Discovering this elusive signal (at best a signal of 45nK over a background of 3K) generated by primordial gravitational waves would confirm for the first time that the Universe underwent inflation during its first fractions of seconds (10-35sec). The existence of primordial Gravitational Waves would also be the first direct evidence for a quantum nature of spacetime.
QUBIC is based on a novel technology, Bolometric Interferometry, that combines the high sensitivity of cryogenic bolometers cooled down to 300mK, with the high control of instrumental systematics provided by imaging interference fringes. Thanks to its interferometric nature, QUBIC is also able to perform spectral imaging, with a spectral resolution about 5 times higher than other CMB instruments. This is a key asset for controlling the contamination to the primordial B-mode polarization arising from Galactic foregrounds such as the thermal emission from dust in our Milky Way Galaxy.
Commissioning will begin in the next weeks with the current instrument on-site, the technical demonstrator, which will acquire data over the next year and will undergo an upgrade to the final instrument in early 2024. With three years of data, QUBIC aims at achieving a sensitivity of the primordial B-modes competitive with other contemporary instruments.
More details at https: qubic.org.ar