The Particle Cosmology group at the University of Illinois explores the connections betwen the universe's workings on its largest and smallest scales. We develop and employ “readout systems” for the cosmic laboratory: instruments to help tease out the signatures of new fundamental physics from astrophysical messengers. Recent efforts have focused on measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the afterglow of the hot early universe.
Our group’s research touches upon a broad range of topics bridging the domains of cosmology and fundamental physics. Our instrumentation employs cutting-edge technologies developed in condensed matter and engineering labs, including superconducting detectors and millimeter-wave optics. Our data analysis efforts involve large-scale computing and simulations. Students develop a wide variety of skills in a collaborative environment while addressing some of the highest-profile questions of modern cosmology.
SPIDER is an ambitious balloon-borne instrument seeking evidence of primordial gravitational waves in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). SPIDER completed a 16-day long-duration balloon flight over the Antarctic ice in January 2015 (launch video), mapping ~12% of the sky at 95 and 150 GHz. The data are under analysis, and development is underway toward a second flight (Dec. 2018).
The BICEP program employs compact refracting telescopes to make the deepest (lowest-noise) maps to date of CMB polarization on degree angular scales. BICEP2 observed from the South Pole for three years, culminating in a 2014 detection of B-mode polarization (since ascribed to galactic dust emission). The Keck Array, BICEP3 (shown), and the upcoming BICEP Array continue this program with ever-more-sensitive instruments observing at multiple frequencies.
There is now abundant evidence that the bulk of the universe's matter is in some dark form, not found the Standard Model of particle physics. The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search seeks to detect the interactions of particle dark matter in terrestrial detectors, which are operated at millikelvin temperatures in an ultra-low-radioactivity environment deep underground.
The CMB community is engaged in planning and R&D toward a coordinated ground-based observational program, known as "CMB - Stage IV". S4 will bring to bear data from multiple telescopes and observing sites to probe qualitatively new parameter space for fundamental physics and astrophysics.
Inflation Probe is a concept for a satellite mission to probe the millimeter-wave sky at post-Planck sensitivities. A NASA-funded community mission study is underway, and our group is engaged in technology development efforts.
BFORE is a proposed mission to study the millimeter-wave sky from a NASA ultra-long-duration (ULBD) balloon. BFORE will target a range of science, from measuring the reionization depth of the universe (τ) to primordial gravitational waves and galactic dust science.
Class of 2018
B.S. Physics/Astro 2016, UIUC
Class of 2018
Class of 2018
B.S. Physics/Astro 2016, UIUC
Ph.D. student, Harvard Astronomy
B.S. Physics 2015, UIUC
Physics Ph.D. Student, UIUC
UIUC Class of 2018
B.S. 2018, University of St. Thomas
Ph.D. student, LSU
B.S. 2019, Illinois Institute of Technology
R. Gualtieri, J.P. Filippini et al., "SPIDER: CMB polarimetry from the edge of space", arXiv:1711.04169 (to appear in JLTP 2018)
J.M. Nagy et al., "A New Limit on CMB Circular Polarization from SPIDER", ApJ 844, 151 (2017)
J.E. Gudmundsson et al., "The thermal design, characterization, and performance of the Spider long-duration balloon cryostat", Cryogenics 72, 65 (2015)
A.S. Rahlin et al., "Pre-flight integration and characterization of the SPIDER balloon-borne telescope", Proc. SPIE 9153 (2014)
A.A. Fraisse et al., "SPIDER: probing the early universe with a suborbital polarimeter", JCAP 04, 047 (2013)
D.T. O'Dea et al., "Spider optimization II: Optical, Magnetic and Foreground Effects", ApJ 738, 63 (2011)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "New bounds on anisotropies of CMB polarization rotation and implications for axion-like particles and primordial magnetic fields", Phys. Rev. D 96, 102003 (2017)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "Measurement of Gravitational Lensing from Large-Scale B-Mode Polarization", ApJ 833, 228 (2016)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "Improved Constraints on Cosmology and Foregrounds from BICEP2 and Keck Array Cosmic Microwave Background Data with Inclusion of 95 GHz Band", PRL 116, 031302 (2016)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "Measurements of B-mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales and 150 GHz by the Keck Array", ApJ 811, 126 (2015)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "A Joint Analysis of BICEP2/Keck Array and Planck Data", Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 101301 (2015)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "Detection of B-mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2 ", Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 241101 (2014)
A.S. Bergman et al., "280 GHz Focal Plane Unit Design and Characterization for the SPIDER-2 Suborbital Polarimeter", arXiv:1711.04169 (to appear in JLTP 2018)
P.A.R. Ade et al., "Antenna-coupled TES bolometers used in BICEP2, Keck Array, and SPIDER", Astrophys. J. 812, 176 (2015)
R. Agnese et al., "Silicon detector results from the first five-tower run of CDMS II", Phys. Rev. D88, 031104(R) (2013)
Z. Ahmed et al., "Dark matter search results from the CDMS II experiment", Science 327, 1619 (2010)
Z. Ahmed et al., "Search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles with the First Five-Tower Data from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the Soudan Underground Laboratory", Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 011301 (2009)
Professor Filippini is a contributor to "Whys Guy Wednesdays", part of the Morning Show on WCIA3 TV, Wednesday mornings at 9:30.
Our lab members have been featured in...
The Big Picture Science radio show and podcast (Jan. 2015)
Scientific American (Nov. 2014)
Prof. Filippini: 405 Loomis Lab
Group office: 494 Loomis Lab
Laboratory: 497 Loomis Lab
Shipping address: MRL Shipping and Receiving, 104 S. Goodwin Ave., Room 190N, Urbana, IL 61801
Contact Professor Filippini (email@example.com) if you're interested in joining our team.