Posts Tagged polarization measurements

Recent Postings from polarization measurements

Planck 2015 results. XVI. Isotropy and statistics of the CMB

We test the statistical isotropy and Gaussianity of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies using observations made by the Planck satellite. Our results are based mainly on the full Planck mission for temperature, but also include some polarization measurements. In particular, we consider the CMB anisotropy maps derived from the multi-frequency Planck data by several component-separation methods. For the temperature anisotropies, we find excellent agreement between results based on these sky maps over both a very large fraction of the sky and a broad range of angular scales, establishing that potential foreground residuals do not affect our studies. Tests of skewness, kurtosis, multi-normality, N-point functions, and Minkowski functionals indicate consistency with Gaussianity, while a power deficit at large angular scales is manifested in several ways, for example low map variance. The results of a peak statistics analysis are consistent with the expectations of a Gaussian random field. The "Cold Spot" is detected with several methods, including map kurtosis, peak statistics, and mean temperature profile. We thoroughly probe the large-scale dipolar power asymmetry, detecting it with several independent tests, and address the subject of a posteriori correction. Tests of directionality suggest the presence of angular clustering from large to small scales, but at a significance that is dependent on the details of the approach. We perform the first examination of polarization data, finding the morphology of stacked peaks to be consistent with the expectations of statistically isotropic simulations. Where they overlap, these results are consistent with the Planck 2013 analysis based on the nominal mission data and provide our most thorough view of the statistics of the CMB fluctuations to date.

Measuring polarization of light quarks at ATLAS and CMS

Polarization of strange quarks is preserved to a high degree when they hadronize into Lambda baryons, as observed in Z decays at LEP. This opens up the possibility for ATLAS and CMS to use strange-quark polarization measurements as a characterization tool for new physics scenarios that produce such quarks. Measurements in ttbar samples would be useful for obtaining additional information about the polarization transfer from the strange quark to the Lambda baryon. Already with 100/fb in Run 2, ttbar samples in ATLAS and CMS become competitive in sensitivity with the Z samples of the LEP experiments. Moreover, while the LEP measurements were done inclusively over all quark flavors, which makes their interpretation dependent on various modeling assumptions, ttbar events at the LHC offer multiple handles for disentangling the different contributions experimentally. We also discuss the possibility of measuring polarizations of up and down quarks.

Fine pitch CdTe-based Hard-X-ray polarimeter performance for space science in the 70-300 keV energy range

X-rays astrophysical sources have been almost exclusively characterized through imaging, spectroscopy and timing analysis. Nevertheless, more observational parameters are needed because some radiation mechanisms present in neutrons stars or black holes are still unclear. Polarization measurements will play a key role in discrimination between different X-ray emission models. Such a capability becomes a mandatory requirement for the next generation of high-energy space proposals. We have developed a CdTe-based fine-pitch imaging spectrometer, Caliste, able to respond to these new requirements. With a 580-micron pitch and 1 keV energy resolution at 60 keV, we are able to accurately reconstruct the polarization angle and polarization fraction of an impinging flux of photons which are scattered by 90{\deg} after Compton diffusion within the crystal. Thanks to its high performance in both imaging and spectrometry, Caliste turns out to be a powerful device for high-energy polarimetry. In this paper, we present the principles and the results obtained for this kind of measurements: on one hand, we describe the simulation tool we have developed to predict the polarization performances in the 50-300 keV energy range. On the other hand, we compare simulation results with experimental data taken at ESRF ID15A (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) using a mono-energetic polarized beam tuned between 35 and 300 keV. We show that it is possible with this detector to determine with high precision the polarization parameters (direction and fraction) for different irradiation conditions. Applying a judicious energy selection to our data set, we reach a remarkable sensitivity level characterized by an optimum Quality Factor of 0.78 in the 200-300 keV range. We also evaluate the sensitivity of our device at 70 keV, where hard X-ray mirrors are already available; the measured Q factor is 0.64 at 70 keV.

Linear and circular polarization in GRB afterglows

A certain degree of linear polarization has been measured in several GRB afterglows. More surprisingly, circular polarization has been recently measured in GRB121024A. For synchrotron emission, the polarization level depends on: (i) the local magnetic field orientation (ii) the geometry of the emitting region with respect to the line of sight and (iii) the electron pitch-angle distribution. For this reason, polarization measurements are a valuable tool to probe afterglow micro-physics. We present numerical estimates of linear and circular polarization for different configurations (i.e., magnetic fields, geometries and pitch-angle distributions). For each different scenario, we study the conditions for reaching the maximum and minimum linear and circular polarization and provide their values. We discuss the implication of our results to the micro-physics of GRB afterglows in view of recent polarization measurements.

Polarization alignments of radio quasars in JVAS/CLASS surveys

We test the hypothesis that the polarization vectors of flat-spectrum radio sources (FSRS) in the JVAS/CLASS 8.4-GHz surveys are randomly oriented on the sky. The sample with robust polarization measurements is made of $4155$ objects and redshift information is known for $1531$ of them. We performed two statistical analyses: one in two dimensions and the other in three dimensions when distance is available. We find significant large-scale alignments of polarization vectors for samples containing only quasars (QSO) among the varieties of FSRS’s. While these correlations prove difficult to explain either by a physical effect or by biases in the dataset, the fact that the QSO’s which have significantly aligned polarization vectors are found in regions of the sky where optical polarization alignments were previously found is striking.

Planck 2015 results. XV. Gravitational lensing

We present the most significant measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) lensing potential to date (at a level of 40 sigma), using temperature and polarization data from the Planck 2015 full-mission release. Using a polarization-only estimator we detect lensing at a significance of 5 sigma. We cross-check the accuracy of our measurement using the wide frequency coverage and complementarity of the temperature and polarization measurements. Public products based on this measurement include an estimate of the lensing potential over approximately 70% of the sky, an estimate of the lensing potential power spectrum in bandpowers for the multipole range 40<L<400 and an associated likelihood for cosmological parameter constraints. We find good agreement between our measurement of the lensing potential power spectrum and that found in the best-fitting LCDM model based on the Planck temperature and polarization power spectra. Using the lensing likelihood alone we obtain a percent-level measurement of the parameter combination Sigma_8 Omega_m^{0.25} = 0.591+-0.021. We combine our determination of the lensing potential with the E-mode polarization also measured by Planck to generate an estimate of the lensing B-mode. We show that this lensing B-mode estimate is correlated with the B-modes observed directly by Planck at the expected level and with a statistical significance of 10 sigma, confirming Planck’s sensitivity to this known sky signal. We also correlate our lensing potential estimate with the large-scale temperature anisotropies, detecting a cross-correlation at the 3 sigma level, as expected due to dark energy in the concordance LCDM model.

Statistics of X-Ray Polarization Measurements

The polarization of an X-ray beam that produces electrons with velocity components perpendicular to the beam generates an azimuthal distribution of the ejected electrons. We present methods for simulating and for analyzing the angular dependence of electron detections which enable us to derive simple analytical expressions for useful statistical properties of observable data. The derivations are verified by simulations. While we confirm the results of previous work on this topic, we provide an extension needed for analytical treatment of the full range of possible polarization amplitudes.

Statistics of X-Ray Polarization Measurements [Replacement]

The polarization of an X-ray beam that produces electrons with velocity components perpendicular to the beam generates an azimuthal distribution of the ejected electrons. We present methods for simulating and for analyzing the angular dependence of electron detections which enable us to derive simple analytical expressions for useful statistical properties of observable data. The derivations are verified by simulations. While we confirm the results of previous work on this topic, we provide an extension needed for analytical treatment of the full range of possible polarization amplitudes.

The Q/U Imaging Experiment: Polarization Measurements of Radio Sources at 43 and 95 GHz

We present polarization measurements of extragalactic radio sources observed during the Cosmic Microwave Background polarization survey of the Q/U Imaging Experiment (QUIET), operating at 43 GHz (Q-band) and 95 GHz (W-band). We examine sources selected at 20 GHz from the public, $>$40 mJy catalog of the Australia Telescope (AT20G) survey. There are $\sim$480 such sources within QUIET’s four low-foreground survey patches, including the nearby radio galaxies Centaurus A and Pictor A. The median error on our polarized flux density measurements is 30–40 mJy per Stokes parameter. At S/N $> 3$ significance, we detect linear polarization for seven sources in Q-band and six in W-band; only $1.3 \pm 1.1$ detections per frequency band are expected by chance. For sources without a detection of polarized emission, we find that half of the sources have polarization amplitudes below 90 mJy (Q-band) and 106 mJy (W-band), at 95% confidence. Finally, we compare our polarization measurements to intensity and polarization measurements of the same sources from the literature. For the four sources with WMAP and Planck intensity measurements $>1$ Jy, the polarization fraction are above 1% in both QUIET bands. At high significance, we compute polarization fractions as much as 10–20% for some sources, but the effects of source variability may cut that level in half for contemporaneous comparisons. Our results indicate that simple models—ones that scale a fixed polarization fraction with frequency—are inadequate to model the behavior of these sources and their contributions to polarization maps.

The Importance of the Magnetic Field from an SMA-CSO-Combined Sample of Star-Forming Regions

Submillimeter dust polarization measurements of a sample of 50 star-forming regions, observed with the SMA and the CSO covering pc-scale clouds to mpc-scale cores, are analyzed in order to quantify the magnetic field importance. The magnetic field misalignment $\delta$ — the local angle between magnetic field and dust emission gradient — is found to be a prime observable, revealing distinct distributions for sources where the magnetic field is preferentially aligned with or perpendicular to the source minor axis. Source-averaged misalignment angles $\langle|\delta|\rangle$ fall into systematically different ranges, reflecting the different source-magnetic field configurations. Possible bimodal $\langle|\delta|\rangle$-distributions are found for the separate SMA and CSO samples. Combining both samples broadens the distribution with a wide maximum peak at small $\langle|\delta|\rangle$-values. Assuming the 50 sources to be representative, the prevailing source-magnetic field configuration is one that statistically prefers small magnetic field misalignments $|\delta|$. When interpreting $|\delta|$ together with an MHD force equation, as developed in the framework of the polarization-intensity gradient method, a sample-based scaling fits the magnetic field tension-to-gravity force ratio $\langle\Sigma_B\rangle$ versus $\langle|\delta|\rangle$ with $\langle\Sigma_B\rangle = 0.116 \cdot \exp(0.047\cdot \langle|\delta|\rangle)\pm 0.20$ (mean error), providing a way to estimate the relative importance of the magnetic field, only based on measurable field misalignments $|\delta|$. The force ratio $\Sigma_B$ discriminates systems that are collapsible on average ($\langle \Sigma_B\rangle <1$) from other molecular clouds where the magnetic field still provides enough resistance against gravitational collapse ($\langle \Sigma_B\rangle >1$) (abridged).

Radio-frequency Attenuation Length, Basal-Reflectivity, Depth, and Polarization Measurements from Moore's Bay in the Ross Ice-Shelf

Radio-glaciological parameters from Moore’s Bay, in the Ross Ice Shelf, have been measured. The thickness of the ice shelf in Moore’s Bay was measured from reflection times of radio-frequency pulses propagating vertically through the shelf and reflecting from the ocean. The average depth obtained is $576\pm8$ m. The temperature-averaged attenuation length of the ice column, $\langle L \rangle$, is derived from the returned power assuming 100\% reflection. A linear fit to the data yields $\langle L(\nu) \rangle = (460\pm20)-(180\pm40)\nu$, for the frequencies $\nu=$[0.100-0.850] GHz, at 95% confidence. Introducing a baseline of 543$\pm$7 m between radio transmitter and receiver allowed the computation of the basal reflection coefficient, $R$, separately from attenuation. The electric-field reflection coefficient is $\sqrt{R}=0.82\pm0.07$ across [0.100-0.850] GHz. Finally, the reflected power rotated into the orthogonal antenna polarization is less than 5% below 0.400 GHz, compatible with air propagation. These results suggest that Moore’s Bay will serve as an appropriate medium for the ARIANNA high energy neutrino telescope.

Radar Absorption, Basal Reflection, Thickness, and Polarization Measurements from the Ross Ice Shelf [Replacement]

Radio-glaciological parameters from Moore’s Bay, in the Ross Ice Shelf, have been measured. The thickness of the ice shelf in Moore’s Bay was measured from reflection times of radio-frequency pulses propagating vertically through the shelf and reflecting from the ocean, and is found to be $576\pm8$ m. Introducing a baseline of 543$\pm$7 m between radio transmitter and receiver allowed the computation of the basal reflection coefficient, $R$, separately from englacial loss. The depth-averaged attenuation length of the ice column, $<L >$ is shown to depend linearly on frequency. The best fit (95% confidence level) is $<L(\nu) >= (460\pm20)-(180\pm40)\nu$ m (20 dB/km), for the frequencies $\nu=$[0.100-0.850] GHz, assuming no reflection loss. The mean electric-field reflection coefficient is $\sqrt{R}=0.82\pm0.07$ (-1.7 dB reflection loss) across [0.100-0.850] GHz, and is used to correct the attenuation length. Finally, the reflected power rotated into the orthogonal antenna polarization is less than 5% below 0.400 GHz, compatible with air propagation. The results imply that Moore’s Bay serves as an appropriate medium for the ARIANNA high energy neutrino detector.

PILOT: a balloon-borne experiment to measure the polarized FIR emission of dust grains in the interstellar medium

Future cosmology space missions will concentrate on measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background, which potentially carries invaluable information about the earliest phases of the evolution of our universe. Such ambitious projects will ultimately be limited by the sensitivity of the instrument and by the accuracy at which polarized foreground emission from our own Galaxy can be subtracted out. We present the PILOT balloon project which will aim at characterizing one of these foreground sources, the polarization of the dust continuum emission in the diffuse interstellar medium. The PILOT experiment will also constitute a test-bed for using multiplexed bolometer arrays for polarization measurements. We present the results of ground tests obtained just before the first flight of the instrument.

Connecting the interstellar magnetic field at the heliosphere to the Loop I superbubble

The local interstellar magnetic field affects both the heliosphere and the surrounding cluster of interstellar clouds (CLIC). Measurements of linearly polarized starlight provide the only test of the magnetic field threading the CLIC. Polarization measurements of the CLIC magnetic field show multiple local magnetic structures, one of which is aligned with the magnetic field traced by the center of the "ribbon" of energetic neutral atoms discovered by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Comparisons between the bulk motion of the CLIC through the local standard of rest, the magnetic field direction, the geometric center of Loop I, and the polarized dust bridge extending from the heliosphere toward the North Polar Spur direction all suggest that the CLIC is part of the rim region of the Loop I superbubble.

Naturally large tensor-to-scalar ratio in inflation [Replacement]

Recently, BICEP2 measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) $B$-mode polarization at degree angular scales has indicated the presence of tensor modes with a high tensor-to-scalar ratio of $r=0.2$ when assuming nearly scale-invariant tensor and scalar spectra, although the signal may be contaminated by dust emission as implied by the recent {\em Planck} polarization data. This result is in conflict with the {\em Planck} best-fit Lambda Cold Dark Model with $r<0.11$. Due to the fact that inflaton has to be interacting with other fields so as to convert its potential energy into radiation to reheat the Universe, the interacting inflaton may result in a suppression of the scalar spectrum at large scales. This suppression has been used to explain the observed low quadrupole in the CMB anisotropy. In this paper, we show that a combination of the tensor modes measured by BICEP2 and the large-scale suppressed scalar modes contributes to the CMB anisotropy in such a way that the resultant CMB anisotropy and polarization power spectra are consistent with both {\em Planck} and BICEP2 data. We also project our findings to cases in which $r$ may become reduced in future CMB polarization measurements.

Naturally large tensor-to-scalar ratio in inflation [Replacement]

Recently, BICEP2 measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) $B$-mode polarization at degree angular scales has indicated the presence of tensor modes with a high tensor-to-scalar ratio of $r=0.2$ when assuming nearly scale-invariant tensor and scalar spectra, although the signal may be contaminated by dust emission as implied by the recent {\em Planck} polarization data. This result is in conflict with the {\em Planck} best-fit Lambda Cold Dark Model with $r<0.11$. Due to the fact that inflaton has to be interacting with other fields so as to convert its potential energy into radiation to reheat the Universe, the interacting inflaton may result in a suppression of the scalar spectrum at large scales. This suppression has been used to explain the observed low quadrupole in the CMB anisotropy. In this paper, we show that a combination of the tensor modes measured by BICEP2 and the large-scale suppressed scalar modes contributes to the CMB anisotropy in such a way that the resultant CMB anisotropy and polarization power spectra are consistent with both {\em Planck} and BICEP2 data. We also project our findings to cases in which $r$ may become reduced in future CMB polarization measurements.

HST observations of the limb polarization of Titan

Titan is an excellent test case for detailed studies of the scattering polarization from thick hazy atmospheres. We present the first limb polarization measurements of Titan, which are compared as a test to our limb polarization models. Previously unpublished imaging polarimetry from the HST archive is presented which resolves the disk of Titan. We determine flux-weighted averages of the limb polarization and radial limb polarization profiles, and investigate the degradation and cancelation effects in the polarization signal due to the limited spatial resolution of our observations. Taking this into account we derive corrected values for the limb polarization in Titan. The results are compared with limb polarization models, using atmosphere and haze scattering parameters from the literature. In the wavelength bands between 250 nm and 2000 nm a strong limb polarization of about 2-7 % is detected with a position angle perpendicular to the limb. The fractional polarization is highest around 1 micron. As a first approximation, the polarization seems to be equally strong along the entire limb. The detected polarization is compatible with expectations from previous polarimetric observations taken with Voyager 2, Pioneer 11, and the Huygens probe. Our results indicate that ground-based monitoring measurements of the limb-polarization of Titan could be useful for investigating local haze properties and the impact of short-term and seasonal variations of the hazy atmosphere of Titan. Planets with hazy atmospheres similar to Titan are particularly good candidates for detection with the polarimetric mode of the upcoming planet finder instrument at the VLT. Therefore, a good knowledge of the polarization properties of Titan is also important for the search and investigation of extra-solar planets.

Quarkonia production and polarization at the hadron colliders [Cross-Listing]

This talk presents a review of recent results for quarkonium production at the LHC from ATLAS, CMS, LHCb, and ALICE. Production cross sections for $J/\psi$, $\psi(2S)$, and $\Upsilon(mS)$, and production ratios for $\chi_{c,bJ}$ are found to be in good agreement with predictions from non-relativistic QCD. In contrast, spin-alignment (polarization) measurements seem to disagree with all theoretical predictions. Some other production channels useful for investigating quarkonium hadroproduction mechanisms are also considered.

GRB 140206A: the most distant polarized Gamma-Ray Burst

The nature of the prompt gamma-ray emission of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) is still far from being completely elucidated. The measure of linear polarization is a powerful tool that can be used to put further constraints on the content and magnetization of the GRB relativistic outflows, as well as on the radiation processes at work. To date only a handful of polarization measurements are available for the prompt emission of GRBs. Here we present the analysis of the prompt emission of GRB 140206A, obtained with INTEGRAL/IBIS, Swift/BAT, and Fermi/GBM. Using INTEGRAL/IBIS as a Compton polarimeter we were able to constrain the linear polarization level of the second peak of this GRB as being larger than 28% at 90% c.l. We also present the GRB afterglow optical spectroscopy obtained at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), which allowed us the measure the distance of this GRB, z=2.739. This distance value together with the polarization measure obtained with IBIS, allowed us to derive the deepest and most reliable limit to date (xi <1×10-16) on the possibility of Lorentz Invariance Violation, measured through the vacuum birefringence effect on a cosmological source.

Evidence of a Mira-like tail and bow shock about the semi-regular variable V CVn from four decades of polarization measurements

Polarization is a powerful tool for understanding stellar atmospheres and circumstellar environments. Mira and semi-regular variable stars have been observed for decades and some are known to be polarimetrically variable, however, the semi-regular variable V Canes Venatici displays an unusually large, unexplained amount of polarization. We present ten years of optical polarization observations obtained with the HPOL instrument, supplemented by published observations spanning a total interval of about forty years for V CVn. We find that V CVn shows large polarization variations ranging from 1 – 6%. We also find that for the past forty years the position angle measured for V CVn has been virtually constant suggesting a long-term, stable, asymmetric structure about the star. We suggest that this asymmetry is caused by the presence of a stellar wind bow shock and tail, consistent with the star’s large space velocity.

Polarization measurements analysis II. Best estimators of polarization fraction and angle

With the forthcoming release of high precision polarization measurements, such as from the Planck satellite, it becomes critical to evaluate the performance of estimators for the polarization fraction and angle. These two physical quantities suffer from a well-known bias in the presence of measurement noise, as has been described in part I of this series. In this paper, part II of the series, we explore the extent to which various estimators may correct the bias. Traditional frequentist estimators of the polarization fraction are compared with two recent estimators: one inspired by a Bayesian analysis and a second following an asymptotic method. We investigate the sensitivity of these estimators to the asymmetry of the covariance matrix which may vary over large datasets. We present for the first time a comparison among polarization angle estimators, and evaluate the statistical bias on the angle that appears when the covariance matrix exhibits effective ellipticity. We also address the question of the accuracy of the polarization fraction and angle uncertainty estimators. The methods linked to the credible intervals and to the variance estimates are tested against the robust confidence interval method. From this pool of estimators, we build recipes adapted to different use-cases: build a mask, compute large maps, and deal with low S/N data. More generally, we show that the traditional estimators suffer from discontinuous distributions at low S/N, while the asymptotic and Bayesian methods do not. Attention is given to the shape of the output distribution of the estimators, and is compared with a Gaussian. In this regard, the new asymptotic method presents the best performance, while the Bayesian output distribution is shown to be strongly asymmetric with a sharp cut at low S/N.Finally, we present an optimization of the estimator derived from the Bayesian analysis using adapted priors.

Polarization measurements analysis I. Impact of the full covariance matrix on polarization fraction and angle measurements

With the forthcoming release of high precision polarization measurements, such as from the Planck satellite, the metrology of polarization needs to improve. In particular, it is crucial to take into account full knowledge of the noise properties when estimating polarization fraction and angle, which suffer from well-known biases. While strong simplifying assumptions have usually been made in polarization analysis, we present a method for including the full covariance matrix of the Stokes parameters in estimates for the distributions of the polarization fraction and angle. We thereby quantify the impact of the noise properties on the biases in the observational quantities. We derive analytical expressions for the pdf of these quantities, taking into account the full complexity of the covariance matrix, including the Stokes I intensity components. We perform simulations to explore the impact of the noise properties on the statistical variance and bias of the polarization fraction and angle. We show that for low variations of the effective ellipticity between the Q and U components around the symmetrical case the covariance matrix may be simplified as is usually done, with negligible impact on the bias. For S/N on intensity lower than 10 the uncertainty on the total intensity is shown to drastically increase the uncertainty of the polarization fraction but not the relative bias, while a 10\% correlation between the intensity and the polarized components does not significantly affect the bias of the polarization fraction. We compare estimates of the uncertainties affecting polarization measurements, addressing limitations of estimates of the S/N, and we show how to build conservative confidence intervals for polarization fraction and angle simultaneously. This study is the first of a set of papers dedicated to the analysis of polarization measurements.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Cross-Listing]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Cross-Listing]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Replacement]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Replacement]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Replacement]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation [Replacement]

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

Compatibility of Planck and BICEP2 in the Light of Inflation

We investigate the implications for inflation of the detection of B-modes polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by BICEP2. We show that the hypothesis of primordial origin of the measurement is only favored by the first four bandpowers, while the others would prefer unreasonably large values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio. Using only those four bandpowers, we carry out a complete analysis in the cosmological and inflationary slow-roll parameter space using the BICEP2 polarization measurements alone and extract the Bayesian evidences and complexities for all the Encyclopaedia Inflationaris models. This allows us to determine the most probable and simplest BICEP2 inflationary scenarios. Although this list contains the simplest monomial potentials, it also includes many other scenarios, suggesting that focusing model building efforts on large field models only is unjustified at this stage. We demonstrate that the sets of inflationary models preferred by Planck alone and BICEP2 alone are almost disjoint, indicating a clear tension between the two data sets. We address this tension with a Bayesian measure of compatibility between BICEP2 and Planck. We find that for models favored by Planck the two data sets tend to be incompatible, whereas there is a moderate evidence of compatibility for the BICEP2 preferred models. As a result, it would be premature to draw any conclusion on the best Planck models, such as Starobinsky and/or Kahler moduli inflation. For the subset of scenarios not exhibiting data sets incompatibility, we update the evidences and complexities using both data sets together.

A joint analysis of Planck and BICEP2 B modes including dust polarization uncertainty [Replacement]

We analyze BICEP2 and Planck data using a model that includes CMB lensing, gravity waves, and polarized dust. Planck dust polarization maps have highlighted the difficulty of estimating the dust polarization in low intensity regions, suggesting that the polarization fractions have considerable uncertainties and may be significantly higher than previous predictions. In this paper, we start by assuming nothing about the dust polarization except for the power spectrum shape, which we take to be $C_{l}^{BB} \propto l^{-2.42}$. The resulting joint BICEP2+Planck analysis favors solutions without gravity waves, and the upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio is $r<0.11$, a slight improvement relative to the Planck analysis alone which gives $r<0.13$ (95% c.l.). The estimated amplitude of the dust polarization power spectrum agrees with expectations for this field based on both HI column density and Planck polarization measurements at 353 GHz in the BICEP2 field. Including the latter constraint in our analysis improves the limit further to $r < 0.09$, placing strong constraints on inflation (e.g., models with $r>0.14$ are excluded with 99.5% confidence). We address the cross-correlation analysis of BICEP2 at 150 GHz with BICEP1 at 100 GHz as a test of foreground contamination. We find that the null hypothesis of dust and lensing with $r=0$ gives $\Delta \chi^2<2$ relative to the hypothesis of no dust, so the frequency analysis does not strongly favor either model over the other. We also discuss how more accurate dust polarization maps may improve our constraints. If the dust polarization is measured perfectly, the limit can reach $r<0.05$, but this degrades quickly to almost no improvement if the dust calibration error is 20% or larger or if the dust maps are not processed through the BICEP2 pipeline, inducing sampling variance noise. (Abridged.)

A joint analysis of Planck and BICEP2 B modes including dust polarization uncertainty [Replacement]

We analyze BICEP2 and Planck data using a model that includes CMB lensing, gravity waves, and polarized dust. Planck dust polarization maps have highlighted the difficulty of estimating the dust polarization in low intensity regions, suggesting that the polarization fractions have considerable uncertainties and may be significantly higher than previous predictions. In this paper, we start by assuming nothing about the dust polarization except for the power spectrum shape, which we take to be $C_{l}^{BB} \propto l^{-2.42}$. The resulting joint BICEP2+Planck analysis favors solutions without gravity waves, and the upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio is $r<0.11$, a slight improvement relative to the Planck analysis alone which gives $r<0.13$ (95% c.l.). The estimated amplitude of the dust polarization power spectrum agrees with expectations for this field based on both HI column density and Planck polarization measurements at 353 GHz in the BICEP2 field. Including the latter constraint in our analysis improves the limit further to $r < 0.09$, placing strong constraints on inflation (e.g., models with $r>0.14$ are excluded with 99.5% confidence). We address the cross-correlation analysis of BICEP2 at 150 GHz with BICEP1 at 100 GHz as a test of foreground contamination. We find that the null hypothesis of dust and lensing with $r=0$ gives $\Delta \chi^2<2$ relative to the hypothesis of no dust, so the frequency analysis does not strongly favor either model over the other. We also discuss how more accurate dust polarization maps may improve our constraints. If the dust polarization is measured perfectly, the limit can reach $r<0.05$, but this degrades quickly to almost no improvement if the dust calibration error is 20% or larger or if the dust maps are not processed through the BICEP2 pipeline, inducing sampling variance noise. (Abridged.)

A joint analysis of Planck and BICEP2 B modes including dust polarization uncertainty [Replacement]

We analyze BICEP2 and Planck data using a model that includes CMB lensing, gravity waves, and polarized dust. Planck dust polarization maps have highlighted the difficulty of estimating the dust polarization in low intensity regions, suggesting that the polarization fractions have considerable uncertainties and may be significantly higher than previous predictions. In this paper, we start by assuming nothing about the dust polarization except for the power spectrum shape, which we take to be $C_{l}^{BB} \propto l^{-2.42}$. The resulting joint BICEP2+Planck analysis favors solutions without gravity waves, and the upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio is $r<0.11$, a slight improvement relative to the Planck analysis alone which gives $r<0.13$ (95% c.l.). The estimated amplitude of the dust polarization power spectrum agrees with expectations for this field based on both HI column density and Planck polarization measurements at 353 GHz in the BICEP2 field. Including the latter constraint in our analysis improves the limit further to $r < 0.09$, placing strong constraints on inflation (e.g., models with $r>0.14$ are excluded with 99.5% confidence). We address the cross-correlation analysis of BICEP2 at 150 GHz with BICEP1 at 100 GHz as a test of foreground contamination. We find that the null hypothesis of dust and lensing with $r=0$ gives $\Delta \chi^2<2$ relative to the hypothesis of no dust, so the frequency analysis does not strongly favor either model over the other. We also discuss how more accurate dust polarization maps may improve our constraints. If the dust polarization is measured perfectly, the limit can reach $r<0.05$, but this degrades quickly to almost no improvement if the dust calibration error is 20% or larger or if the dust maps are not processed through the BICEP2 pipeline, inducing sampling variance noise. (Abridged.)

A joint analysis of Planck and BICEP2 B modes including dust polarization uncertainty [Replacement]

We analyze BICEP2 and Planck data using a model that includes CMB lensing, gravity waves, and polarized dust. Planck dust polarization maps have highlighted the difficulty of estimating the dust polarization in low intensity regions, suggesting that the polarization fractions have considerable uncertainties and may be significantly higher than previous predictions. In this paper, we start by assuming nothing about the dust polarization except for the power spectrum shape, which we take to be $C_{l}^{BB} \propto l^{-2.42}$. The resulting joint BICEP2+Planck analysis favors solutions without gravity waves, and the upper limit on the tensor-to-scalar ratio is $r<0.11$, a slight improvement relative to the Planck analysis alone which gives $r<0.13$ (95% c.l.). The estimated amplitude of the dust polarization power spectrum agrees with expectations for this field based on both HI column density and Planck polarization measurements at 353 GHz in the BICEP2 field. Including the latter constraint in our analysis improves the limit further to $r < 0.09$, placing strong constraints on inflation (e.g., models with $r>0.14$ are excluded with 99.5% confidence). We address the cross-correlation analysis of BICEP2 at 150 GHz with BICEP1 at 100 GHz as a test of foreground contamination. We find that the null hypothesis of dust and lensing with $r=0$ gives $\Delta \chi^2<2$ relative to the hypothesis of no dust, so the frequency analysis does not strongly favor either model over the other. We also discuss how more accurate dust polarization maps may improve our constraints. If the dust polarization is measured perfectly, the limit can reach $r<0.05$, but this degrades quickly to almost no improvement if the dust calibration error is 20% or larger or if the dust maps are not processed through the BICEP2 pipeline, inducing sampling variance noise. (Abridged.)

Testing CPT Symmetry with Current and Future CMB Measurements

In this paper we use the current and future cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments to test the Charge-Parity-Time Reversal (CPT) symmetry. We consider a CPT-violating interaction in the photon sector $\mathcal{L}_{\rm cs}\sim p_\mu A_\nu \tilde{F}^{\mu\nu}$ which gives rise to a rotation of the polarization vectors of the propagating CMB photons. By combining current CMB polarization measurements, the nine-year WMAP, BOOMERanG 2003 and BICEP observations, we obtain a tight constraint on the isotropic rotation angle $\bar{\alpha} = -2.12 \pm 1.14$ ($1\sigma$), indicating an about $2\sigma$ detection of the CPT violation. Here, we particularly take the systematic errors of CMB measurements into account. Then, we study the effects of the anisotropies of the rotation angle [$\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$] on the CMB polarization power spectra in detail. Due to the small effects, the current CMB polarization data can not constrain the related parameters very well. We obtain the 95\% C.L. upper limit of the variance of the anisotropies of the rotation angle $C^\alpha(0) < 0.035$ from all the CMB datasets. More interestingly, including the anisotropies of rotation angle could lower the best fit value of $r$ and relax the tension on the constraints of $r$ between BICEP2 and Planck. Finally, we investigate the capabilities of future Planck polarization measurements on $\bar{\alpha}$ and $\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$. Benefited from the high precision of Planck data, the constraints of the rotation angle can be significantly improved.

Testing CPT Symmetry with Current and Future CMB Measurements [Cross-Listing]

In this paper we use the current and future cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments to test the Charge-Parity-Time Reversal (CPT) symmetry. We consider a CPT-violating interaction in the photon sector $\mathcal{L}_{\rm cs}\sim p_\mu A_\nu \tilde{F}^{\mu\nu}$ which gives rise to a rotation of the polarization vectors of the propagating CMB photons. By combining current CMB polarization measurements, the nine-year WMAP, BOOMERanG 2003 and BICEP observations, we obtain a tight constraint on the isotropic rotation angle $\bar{\alpha} = -2.12 \pm 1.14$ ($1\sigma$), indicating an about $2\sigma$ detection of the CPT violation. Here, we particularly take the systematic errors of CMB measurements into account. Then, we study the effects of the anisotropies of the rotation angle [$\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$] on the CMB polarization power spectra in detail. Due to the small effects, the current CMB polarization data can not constrain the related parameters very well. We obtain the 95\% C.L. upper limit of the variance of the anisotropies of the rotation angle $C^\alpha(0) < 0.035$ from all the CMB datasets. More interestingly, including the anisotropies of rotation angle could lower the best fit value of $r$ and relax the tension on the constraints of $r$ between BICEP2 and Planck. Finally, we investigate the capabilities of future Planck polarization measurements on $\bar{\alpha}$ and $\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$. Benefited from the high precision of Planck data, the constraints of the rotation angle can be significantly improved.

Testing CPT Symmetry with Current and Future CMB Measurements [Cross-Listing]

In this paper we use the current and future cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments to test the Charge-Parity-Time Reversal (CPT) symmetry. We consider a CPT-violating interaction in the photon sector $\mathcal{L}_{\rm cs}\sim p_\mu A_\nu \tilde{F}^{\mu\nu}$ which gives rise to a rotation of the polarization vectors of the propagating CMB photons. By combining current CMB polarization measurements, the nine-year WMAP, BOOMERanG 2003 and BICEP observations, we obtain a tight constraint on the isotropic rotation angle $\bar{\alpha} = -2.12 \pm 1.14$ ($1\sigma$), indicating an about $2\sigma$ detection of the CPT violation. Here, we particularly take the systematic errors of CMB measurements into account. Then, we study the effects of the anisotropies of the rotation angle [$\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$] on the CMB polarization power spectra in detail. Due to the small effects, the current CMB polarization data can not constrain the related parameters very well. We obtain the 95\% C.L. upper limit of the variance of the anisotropies of the rotation angle $C^\alpha(0) < 0.035$ from all the CMB datasets. More interestingly, including the anisotropies of rotation angle could lower the best fit value of $r$ and relax the tension on the constraints of $r$ between BICEP2 and Planck. Finally, we investigate the capabilities of future Planck polarization measurements on $\bar{\alpha}$ and $\Delta{\alpha}({\bf \hat{n}})$. Benefited from the high precision of Planck data, the constraints of the rotation angle can be significantly improved.

Polarization of Direct Photons from Gluon Anisotropy in Ultrarelativistic Heavy Ion Collisions [Replacement]

We show how anisotropy in momentum of the gluon distribution in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions gives rise to polarization of direct photons produced via gluon-quark Compton scattering, as well as by quark-antiquark annihilation into a gluon-photon pair. We estimate the polarization asymmetry from the Compton process within a toy model where the polarized photons are produced from thermal gluons scattered by heavy-quark scattering centers moving with Bjorken boost-invariant flow, and find that it could be as large as 10%. We conclude that polarization measurements of directly produced photons can shed light on gluon pressure anisotropy in the early stages of collisions.

Polarization of Direct Photons from Gluon Anisotropy in Ultrarelativistic Heavy Ion Collisions [Replacement]

We show how anisotropy in momentum of the gluon distribution in ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions gives rise to polarization of direct photons produced via gluon-quark Compton scattering, as well as by quark-antiquark annihilation into a gluon-photon pair. We estimate the polarization asymmetry from the Compton process within a toy model where the polarized photons are produced from thermal gluons scattered by heavy-quark scattering centers moving with Bjorken boost-invariant flow, and find that it could be as large as 10%. We conclude that polarization measurements of directly produced photons can shed light on gluon pressure anisotropy in the early stages of collisions.

Tracing the ISM magnetic field morphology: The potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements

$\textit{Aims.}$ We present a case study to demonstrate the potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements. The aim is to investigate the effects that dichroic polarization and thermal re-emission have on tracing the magnetic field in the interstellar medium (ISM). Furthermore, we analyze the crucial influence of imperfectly aligned compact dust grains on the resulting synthetic continuum polarization maps.$\\ \textit{Methods.}$ We developed an extended version of the well-known 3D Monte-Carlo radiation transport code MC3D for multi-wavelength polarization simulations running on an adaptive grid.We investigated the interplay between radiation, magnetic fields and dust grains. Our results were produced by post-processing both ideal density distributions and sophisticated magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) collapse simulations with radiative transfer simulations. We derived spatially resolved maps of intensity, optical depth, and linear and circular polarization at various inclination angles and scales in a wavelength range from 7 $\mu m$ to 1 $mm$.$\\ \textit{Results.}$ We predict unique patterns in linear and circular polarization maps for different types of density distributions and magnetic field morphologies for test setups and sophisticated MHD collapse simulations. We show that alignment processes of interstellar dust grains can significantly influence the resulting synthetic polarization maps. Multi-wavelength polarization measurements allow one to predict the morphology of the magnetic field inside the ISM. The interpretation of polarization measurements of complex structures still remains ambiguous because of the large variety of the predominant parameters in the ISM.

A compendium of AGN inclinations with corresponding UV/optical continuum polarization measurements

The anisotropic nature of active galactic nuclei (AGN) is thought to be responsible for the observational differences between type-1 (pole-on) and type-2 (edge-on) nearby Seyfert-like galaxies. In this picture, the detection of emission and/or absorption features is directly correlated to the inclination of the system. The AGN structure can be further probed by using the geometry-sensitive technique of polarimetry, yet the pairing between observed polarization and Seyfert type remains poorly examined. Based on archival data, I report here the first compilation of 53 estimated AGN inclinations matched with ultraviolet/optical continuum polarization measurements. Corrections, based on the polarization of broad emission lines, are applied to the sample of Seyfert-2 AGN to remove dilution by starburst light and derive information about the scattered continuum alone. The resulting compendium agrees with past empirical results, i.e. type-1 AGN show low polarization degrees (P < 1%) predominantly associated with a polarization position angle parallel to the projected radio axis of the system, while type-2 objects show stronger polarization percentages (P > 7%) with perpendicular polarization angles. The transition between type-1 and type-2 inclination occurs between 45 and 60 degrees without noticeable impact on P. The compendium is further used as a test to investigate the relevance of four AGN models. While an AGN model with fragmented regions matches observations better than uniform models, a structure with a failed dusty wind along the equator and disc-born, ionized, polar outflows is by far closer to observations. However, although the models correctly reproduce the observed dichotomy between parallel and perpendicular polarization, as well as correct polarization percentages at type-2 inclinations, further work is needed to account for some highly polarized type-1 AGN

The CMB flexes its BICEPs while walking the Planck

Recent microwave polarization measurements from the BICEP2 experiment may reveal a long-sought signature of inflation. However, these new results appear inconsistent with the best-fit model from the Planck satellite. We suggest a particularly simple idea for reconciling these data-sets, and for explaining a wide range of phenomena on the cosmic microwave sky.

Quarkonium production in the LHC era: a polarized perspective

Polarization measurements are usually considered as the most difficult challenge for the QCD description of quarkonium production. In fact, global data fits for the determination of the non-perturbative parameters of bound-state formation traditionally exclude polarization observables and use them as a posteriori verifications of the predictions, with perplexing results. With a change of perspective, we move polarization data to the centre of the study, advocating that they actually provide the strongest fundamental indications about the production mechanisms, even before we explicitly consider perturbative calculations. Considering psi(2S) and Y(3S) measurements from LHC experiments and state-of-the-art NLO short-distance calculations in the framework of non-relativistic QCD factorization (NRQCD), we perform a search for a kinematic domain where the polarizations can be correctly reproduced together with the cross sections, by systematically scanning the phase space and accurately treating the experimental uncertainties. This strategy provides a straightforward solution to the "quarkonium polarization puzzle" and reassuring signs that the theoretical framework is reliable. At the same time, the results expose unexpected hierarchies in the non-perturbative NRQCD parameters, that open new paths towards the understanding of bound-state formation in QCD.

Probing the radio emission from air showers with polarization measurements

The emission of radio waves from air showers has been attributed to the so-called geomagnetic emission process. At frequencies around 50 MHz this process leads to coherent radiation which can be observed with rather simple setups. The direction of the electric field induced by this emission process depends only on the local magnetic field vector and on the incoming direction of the air shower. We report on measurements of the electric field vector where, in addition to this geomagnetic component, another component has been observed which cannot be described by the geomagnetic emission process. The data provide strong evidence that the other electric field component is polarized radially with respect to the shower axis, in agreement with predictions made by Askaryan who described radio emission from particle showers due to a negative charge-excess in the front of the shower. Our results are compared to calculations which include the radiation mechanism induced by this charge-excess process.

Probing the radio emission from air showers with polarization measurements [Replacement]

The emission of radio waves from air showers has been attributed to the so-called geomagnetic emission process. At frequencies around 50 MHz this process leads to coherent radiation which can be observed with rather simple setups. The direction of the electric field induced by this emission process depends only on the local magnetic field vector and on the incoming direction of the air shower. We report on measurements of the electric field vector where, in addition to this geomagnetic component, another component has been observed which cannot be described by the geomagnetic emission process. The data provide strong evidence that the other electric field component is polarized radially with respect to the shower axis, in agreement with predictions made by Askaryan who described radio emission from particle showers due to a negative charge-excess in the front of the shower. Our results are compared to calculations which include the radiation mechanism induced by this charge-excess process.

Parkes full polarization spectra of OH masers - II. Galactic longitudes 240 to 350

Full polarization measurements of 1665 and 1667-MHz OH masers at 261 sites of massive star formation have been made with the Parkes radio telescope. Here we present the resulting spectra for 157 southern sources, complementing our previously published 104 northerly sources. For most sites, these are the first measurements of linear polarization, with good spectral resolution and complete velocity coverage. Our spectra exhibit the well-known predominance of highly circularly polarized features, interpreted as $\sigma$ components of Zeeman patterns. Focusing on the generally weaker and rarer linear polarization, we found three examples of likely full Zeeman triplets (a linearly polarized $\pi$ component, straddled in velocity by $\sigma$ components), adding to the solitary example previously reported. We also identify 40 examples of likely isolated $\pi$ components, contradicting past beliefs that $\pi$ components might be extremely rare. These were recognised at 20 sites where a feature with high linear polarization on one transition is accompanied on the other transition by a matching feature, at the same velocity and also with significant linear polarization. Large velocity ranges are rare, but we find eight exceeding 25 km/s, some of them indicating high velocity blue-shifted outflows. Variability was investigated on timescales of one year and over several decades. More than 20 sites (of 200) show high variability (intensity changes by factors of four or more) in some prominent features. Highly stable sites are extremely rare.

Parkes full polarization spectra of OH masers - I. Galactic longitudes 350 through the Galactic Centre to 41

Full polarization measurements of 1665 and 1667-MHz OH masers at sites of massive star formation have been made with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. Here we present the resulting spectra for 104 northerly sources. For more than 20 masers we made new measurements with the ATCA (which also revealed several hitherto unreported masers), in most cases yielding arcsecond precision to match the majority of sites. Position improvements assist in distinguishing OH masers with accompanying methanol masers from those without (thought to be at a later stage of evolution). There was no existing linear polarization information at many sites, and spectral resolution was sometimes poor, or velocity coverage incomplete. These inadequacies are addressed by the present Parkes spectra. The whole OH maser sample exhibit the well-known predominance of highly circularly polarized features. We find that linear polarization is also common, but usually much weaker, and we highlight the rare cases of very pronounced linear polarization that can extend to 100 per cent. Unusually large velocity ranges of at least 25 km/s are present at seven sites. Our spectra measurements for most sources are at two epochs spaced by nearly one year, and reveal high stability at most sites, and marked variability (more than factors of two in the strongest feature) at only five sites. The spectra also provide a valuable reference for longer term variability, with high stability evident over the past decades at 10 sites and marked variability for four of the sample. Future systematic monitoring of these variables may uncover further examples of periodicity, a phenomenon so far recognised in only one source.

Exoplanetary searches with gravitational microlensing: polarization issues

There are different methods for finding exoplanets such as radial spectral shifts, astrometrical measurements, transits, timing etc. Gravitational microlensing (including pixel-lensing) is among the most promising techniques with the potentiality of detecting Earth-like planets at distances about a few astronomical units from their host star or near the so-called snow line with a temperature in the range $0-100^0$ C on a solid surface of an exoplanet. We emphasize the importance of polarization measurements which can help to resolve degeneracies in theoretical models. In particular, the polarization angle could give additional information about the relative position of the lens with respect to the source.

Exoplanetary searches with gravitational microlensing: polarization issues [Cross-Listing]

There are different methods for finding exoplanets such as radial spectral shifts, astrometrical measurements, transits, timing etc. Gravitational microlensing (including pixel-lensing) is among the most promising techniques with the potentiality of detecting Earth-like planets at distances about a few astronomical units from their host star or near the so-called snow line with a temperature in the range $0-100^0$ C on a solid surface of an exoplanet. We emphasize the importance of polarization measurements which can help to resolve degeneracies in theoretical models. In particular, the polarization angle could give additional information about the relative position of the lens with respect to the source.

The multi-wavelength polarization of Cygnus X-1

Polarization measurements of the microquasar Cygnus X-1 exist at gamma-ray, X-ray, UV, optical and radio frequencies. The gamma-ray emission has been shown to be highly linearly polarized. Here, we present new infrared polarimetric data of Cygnus X-1 taken with the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias and the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope. We show that the broadband, radio to gamma-ray flux spectrum and polarization spectrum in the hard state are largely consistent with a simple phenomenological model of a strongly polarized synchrotron jet, an unpolarized Comptonized corona and a moderately polarized interstellar dust component. In this model, the origin of the gamma-ray, X-ray and some of the infrared polarization is the optically thin synchrotron power law from the inner regions of the jet. The model requires the magnetic field in this region to be highly ordered and perpendicular to the axis of the resolved radio jet. This differs to studies of some other X-ray binaries, in which the magnetic field is turbulent, variable and aligned with the jet axis. The model is able to explain the approximate polarization strength and position angle at all wavelengths including the detected X-ray (3 – 5 keV) polarization, except the observed position angle of the gamma-ray polarization, which differs to the model by ~ 60 degrees. Past numerical modelling has shown that a curved synchrotron spectrum can produce a shift in position angle by ~ 60 degrees, which may account for this.

Probing magnetars magnetosphere through X-ray polarization measurements

The study of magnetars is of particular relevance since these objects are the only laboratories where the physics in ultra-strong magnetic fields can be directly tested. Until now, spectroscopic and timing measurements at X-ray energies in soft gamma-repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsar (AXPs) have been the main source of information about the physical properties of a magnetar and of its magnetosphere. Spectral fitting in the ~ 0.5-10 keV range allowed to validate the "twisted magnetosphere" model, probing the structure of the external field and estimating the density and velocity of the magnetospheric currents. Spectroscopy alone, however, may fail in disambiguating the two key parameters governing magnetospheric scattering (the charge velocity and the twist angle) and is quite insensitive to the source geometry. X-ray polarimetry, on the other hand, can provide a quantum leap in the field by adding two extra observables, the linear polarization degree and the polarization angle. Using the bright AXP 1RXS J170849.0-400910 as a template, we show that phase-resolved polarimetric measurements can unambiguously determine the model parameters, even with a small X-ray polarimetry mission carrying modern photoelectric detectors and existing X-ray optics. We also show that polarimetric measurements can pinpoint vacuum polarization effects and thus provide an indirect evidence for ultra-strong magnetic fields.

 

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