Polarimetry at millimeter wavelengths with the NIKA camera: Calibration and performance

A. Ritacco, N. Ponthieu, A. Catalano, R. Adam, P. Ade, P. André, A. Beelen, A. Benoît, A. Bideaud, N. Billot, O. Bourrion, M. Calvo, G. Coiffard, B. Comis, F. X. Désert, S. Doyle, J. Goupy, C. Kramer, S. Leclercq, J. F. Macías-PérezPhilip Mauskopf, A. Maury, F. Mayet, A. Monfardini, F. Pajot, E. Pascale, L. Perotto, G. Pisano, M. Rebolo-Iglesias, V. Revéret, L. Rodriguez, C. Romero, F. Ruppin, G. Savini, K. Schuster, A. Sievers, C. Thum, S. Triqueneaux, C. Tucker, R. Zylka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Magnetic fields, which play a major role in a large number of astrophysical processes can be traced via observations of dust polarization. In particular, Planck low-resolution observations of dust polarization have demonstrated that Galactic filamentary structures, where star formation takes place, are associated to well organized magnetic fields. A better understanding of this process requires detailed observations of galactic dust polarization on scales of 0.01 to 0.1 pc. Such high-resolution polarization observations can be carried out at the IRAM 30 m telescope using the recently installed NIKA2 camera, which features two frequency bands at 260 and 150 GHz (respectively 1.15 and 2.05 mm), the 260 GHz band being polarization sensitive. NIKA2 so far in commissioning phase, has its focal plane filled with ∼3300 detectors to cover a Field of View (FoV) of 6.5 arcmin diameter. The NIKA camera, which consisted of two arrays of 132 and 224 Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors (LEKIDs) and a FWHM (Full-Width-Half-Maximum) of 12 and 18.2 arcsec at 1.15 and 2.05 mm respectively, has been operated at the IRAM 30 m telescope from 2012 to 2015 as a test-bench for NIKA2. NIKA was equipped of a room temperature polarization system (a half wave plate (HWP) and a grid polarizer facing the NIKA cryostat window). The fast and continuous rotation of the HWP permits the quasi simultaneous reconstruction of the three Stokes parameters, I, Q, and U at 150 and 260 GHz. This paper presents the first polarization measurements with KIDs and reports the polarization performance of the NIKA camera and the pertinence of the choice of the polarization setup in the perspective of NIKA2. We describe the polarized data reduction pipeline, specifically developed for this project and how the continuous rotation of the HWP permits to shift the polarized signal far from any low frequency noise. We also present the dedicated algorithm developed to correct systematic leakage effects. We report results on compact and extended sources obtained duringthe February 2015 technical campaign. These results demonstrate a good understanding of polarization systematics and state-of-the-art performance in terms of photometry, polarization degree and polarization angle reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA34
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Instrumentation: polarimeters
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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