Research Projects

South Pole Telescope (SPT)

The SPT is a 10-meter telescope designed to measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and find clusters of galaxies. In 2011, we completed the 2500 sq. deg. SPT-SZ survey, designed to study the temperature anisotropy of the CMB. In 2012, we installed the polarization sensitive SPTpol camera, to study the CMB polarization anisotropy. Analysis of both data sets is on-going, in addition with cross-correlation with the BICEP2/KECK and DES surveys. See publications and link below for more details.


SPT-3G is the next-generation camera for the SPT, scheduled to deploy to the South Pole in November 2016. The SPT-3G camera will consist of 16,000 transition edge sensor (TES) detectors operating at 250 mK, and observing in three frequency bands centered at 95, 150, and 220 GHz. SPT-3G is designed to have a 20 times larger mapping speed than the already impressive SPTpol camera. Its main science goals are to place new constraints on Inflationary models, the relativistic energy density of the universe, the sum of the neutrino masses, and dark energy.

Dark Energy Survey (DES)

DES is 5000 sq. deg. optical survey, aiming to study dark energy. The DES survey was designed to largely overlap the SPT survey area. This overlap enables cross correlation analyses to study astrophysics and cosmology, using SPT observables, e.g., CMB lensing and the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) signature from clusters of galaxies. See publications and link below of more details.


CMB-S4 is a next-generation CMB experiment aiming to be over an order of magnitude more sensitive than today's operating stage-2 experiments (e.g., ACTpol, SPTpol, KECK), and requiring on the order of 500,000 TES detectors between 30-300 GHz. CMB-S4 was recently recommended by the DOE P5 and NRC Antarctic reports as a US scientific priority, and the community has been organizing bi-annual meetings to help define the science case and being designs for CMB-S4. See link below for more details.

Recent Publications

1) Weak-lensing mass calibration of redMaPPer galaxy clusters in Dark Energy Survey Science Verification data. By DES Collaboration (P. Melchior et al.). [arXiv:1610.06890 [astro-ph.CO]]. Submitted to: Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc..
2) CMB-S4 Science Book, First Edition. By CMB-S4 Collaboration (Kevork N. Abazajian et al.). [arXiv:1610.02743 [astro-ph.CO]].
3) SPT-GMOS: A Gemini/GMOS-South Spectroscopic Survey of Galaxy Clusters in the SPT-SZ Survey. By M.B. Bayliss et al.. [arXiv:1609.05211 [astro-ph.CO]].
4) Testing for X-ray-SZ Differences and Redshift Evolution in the X-ray Morphology of Galaxy Clusters. By D. Nurgaliev et al.. [arXiv:1609.00375 [astro-ph.CO]].
5) Integrated performance of a frequency domain multiplexing readout in the SPT-3G receiver. By A.N. Bender et al.. 10.1117/12.2232146.
Proc.SPIE Int.Soc.Opt.Eng. 9914 (2016) 99141D.
6) Optical-SZE Scaling Relations for DES Optically Selected Clusters within the SPT-SZ Survey. By DES Collaboration (A. Saro et al.). [arXiv:1605.08770 [astro-ph.CO]]. Submitted to: Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc..
7) High Frequency Cluster Radio Galaxies: Luminosity Functions and Implications for SZE Selected Cluster Samples. By SPT Collaboration (N. Gupta et al.). [arXiv:1605.05329 [astro-ph.CO]]. Submitted to: Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc..
8) Maps of the Magellanic Clouds from Combined South Pole Telescope and Planck Data. By SPT and Planck Collaborations (T.M. Crawford et al.). [arXiv:1605.00966 [astro-ph.GA]]. Submitted to: Astrophys.J..
9) Millimeter Transient Point Sources in the SPTpol 100 Square Degree Survey. By SPT Collaboration (N. Whitehorn et al.). [arXiv:1604.03507 [astro-ph.HE]]. 10.3847/0004-637X/830/2/143. Astrophys.J. 830 (2016) no.2, 143.
10) Cosmological Constraints from Galaxy Clusters in the 2500 square-degree SPT-SZ Survey. By SPT Collaboration (T. de Haan et al.). [arXiv:1603.06522 [astro-ph.CO]]. Submitted to: Astrophys.J..
11) Detection of the kinematic Sunyaev–Zel'dovich effect with DES Year 1 and SPT. By DES and SPT Collaborations (B. Soergel et al.). [arXiv:1603.03904 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stw1455. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 461 (2016) no.3, 3172-3193.
12) The Evolution of the Intracluster Medium Metallicity in Sunyaev-Zel'dovich-Selected Galaxy Clusters at 0 < z < 1.5. By SPT Collaboration (M. McDonald et al.). [arXiv:1603.03035 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.3847/0004-637X/826/2/124. Astrophys.J. 826 (2016) no.2, 124.
13) Joint Measurement of Lensing-Galaxy Correlations Using SPT and DES SV Data. By DES and SPT Collaborations (E.J. Baxter et al.). [arXiv:1602.07384 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stw1584. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc..
14) Cross-correlation of gravitational lensing from DES Science Verification data with SPT and Planck lensing. By DES Collaboration (D. Kirk et al.). [arXiv:1512.04535 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stw570. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 459 (2016) no.1, 21-34.
15) Detection of Enhancement in Number Densities of Background Galaxies due to Magnification by Massive Galaxy Clusters. By SPT Collaboration (I. Chiu et al.). [arXiv:1510.01745 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stw190. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 457 (2016) no.3, 3050-3065.
16) Star-Forming Brightest Cluster Galaxies at $0.25 < z < 1.25$: A Transitioning Fuel Supply. By M. McDonald et al.. [arXiv:1508.06283 [astro-ph.GA]]. 10.3847/0004-637X/817/2/86. Astrophys.J. 817 (2016) no.2, 86.
17) Deep Chandra, HST-COS, and Megacam Observations of the Phoenix Cluster: Extreme Star Formation and AGN Feedback on Hundred Kiloparsec Scales. By Michael McDonald et al.. [arXiv:1508.05941 [astro-ph.GA]]. 10.1088/0004-637X/811/2/111. Astrophys.J. 811 (2015) no.2, 111.
18) CMB lensing tomography with the DES Science Verification galaxies. By DES Collaboration (T. Giannantonio et al.). [arXiv:1507.05551 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stv2678. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 456 (2016) no.3, 3213-3244.
19) Constraints on the richness–mass relation and the optical-SZE positional offset distribution for SZE-selected clusters. By DES Collaboration (A. Saro et al.). [arXiv:1506.07814 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1093/mnras/stv2141. Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 454 (2015) no.3, 2305-2319.
20) Measurements of Sub-degree B-mode Polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background from 100 Square Degrees of SPTpol Data. By SPT Collaboration (R. Keisler et al.). [arXiv:1503.02315 [astro-ph.CO]]. 10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/151. Astrophys.J. 807 (2015) no.2, 151.


Bradford Benson

Associate Scientist, Fermilab; Assistant Professor, Astronomy & Astrophysics, KICP, University of Chicago; Ph.D., Stanford, 2004.


Postdocs and Technical Staff

Adam Anderson

Lederman Fellow, Fermilab, PhD MIT 2015

Sasha Rahlin

Fellow, Fermilab, PhD Princeton 2016

Donna Kubik

Physicist, Fermilab

Graduate Students

Joshua Sobrin

Grad Student, Physics

Gourav Khullar

Grad Student, Astro

Amy Tang

Grad Student, Astro

Zhaodi Pan

Co-advisor, Grad Student, Physics

Daniel Dutcher

Co-advisor, Grad Student, Physics


Lauren Saunders

Physics AB, UChicago '16.

Alex Droster

Physics AB, UChicago '16.

Ningfeng Zhu

Physics AB, UChicago '16.

Stephen Kerby

Physics, Case Western '19.


Milo Korman

Former Undergad, now Grad Student at Case Western in Physics in Fall '15

Alex Diaz

Former Undergrad, Grad Student at MIT in Physics in Fall '16