Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Chicago

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Electric and Magnetic Spectra


Thomson scattering can only produce an E-mode locally since the spherical harmonics that describe the temperature anisotropy have tex2html_wrap_inline1284 electric parity. In Figs. 4, 6, and 8, the tex2html_wrap_inline1042 , m=0,1,2 E-mode patterns are shown in yellow. The B-mode represents these patterns rotated by tex2html_wrap_inline1128 and are shown in purple and cannot be generated by scattering. In this way, the scalars, vectors, and tensors are similar in that scattering produces a local tex2html_wrap_inline1042 E-mode only.

However, the pattern of polarization on the sky is not simply this local signature from scattering but is modulated over the last scattering surface by the plane wave spatial dependence of the perturbation (compare Figs. 3 and 10). The modulation changes the amplitude, sign, and angular structure of the polarization but not its nature, e.g. a Q-polarization remains Q. Nonetheless, this modulation generates a B-mode from the local E-mode pattern.

  Fig. 10: Modulation of the local scalar pattern in Fig. 3 by plane wave fluctuations on the last scattering surface. Yellow points represent polarization out of the plane of the page with magnitude proportional to sign. The plane wave odulation changes the amplitude and the sign of the polarization but does not mix Q and U. Modulation can mix E and B however if U is also present.

The reason why this occurs is best seen from the local distinction between E and B-modes. Recall that E-modes have polarization amplitudes that change parallel or perpendicular to, and B-modes in directions tex2html_wrap_inline1128 away from, the polarization direction. On the other hand, plane wave modulation always changes the polarization amplitude in the direction tex2html_wrap_inline1086 or N-S on the sphere. Whether the resultant pattern possesses E or B-contributions depends on whether the local polarization has Q or U-contributions.

For scalars, the modulation is of a pure Q-field and thus its E-mode nature is preserved ([Kamionkowski et al.] 1997; [Zaldarriaga & Seljak] 1997). For the vectors, the U-mode dominates the pattern and the modulation is crossed with the polarization direction. Thus vectors generate mainly B-modes for short wavelength fluctuations ([Hu & White] 1997). For the tensors, the comparable Q and U components of the local pattern imply a more comparable distribution of E and B modes at short wavelengths (see Fig. 11a).

These qualitative considerations can be quantified by noting that plane wave modulation simply represent the addition of angular momentum from the plane wave ( tex2html_wrap_inline1470 ) with the local spin angular dependence. The result is that plane wave modulation takes the tex2html_wrap_inline1042 local angular dependence to higher tex2html_wrap_inline1272 (smaller angles) and splits the signal into E and B components with ratios which are related to Clebsch-Gordan coefficients. At short wavelengths, these ratios are B/E=0,6,8/13 in power for scalars, vectors, and tensors (see Fig. 11b and [Hu & White] 1997).

The distribution of power in multipole tex2html_wrap_inline1272 -space is also important. Due to projection, a single plane wave contributes to a range of angular scales tex2html_wrap_inline1484 where r is the comoving distance to the last scattering surface. From Fig. 10, we see that the smallest angular, largest tex2html_wrap_inline1488 variations occur on lines of sight tex2html_wrap_inline1490 or tex2html_wrap_inline1192 though a small amount of power projects to tex2html_wrap_inline1494 as tex2html_wrap_inline1496 . The distribution of power in multipole space of Fig. 11b can be read directly off the local polarization pattern. In particular, the region near tex2html_wrap_inline1192 shown in Fig. 11a determines the behavior of the main contribution to the polarization power spectrum.

  Fig. 11: The E and B components of a planewave perturbation for scalars, vectors and tensors. (a) Modulation of the local E-quadrupole patter (yellow) from scattering by a planewave. Modulation in the direction of (or orthogonal to) the polarization generates an E-mode with higher l; modulation in the crossed (45 degree) direction generates a B-mode with higher l. Scalars generate only E-modes, vectors mainly B-modes, and tensors comparable amounts of both. (b) Distribution of power in a single plane wave with kr=100 in multipole l from the addition of spin and orbital angular momentum. Features in the power spectrum can be read directly off of the pattern in (a).

The full power spectrum is of course obtained by summing these plane wave contributions with weights dependent on the source of the perturbations and the dynamics of their evolution up to last scattering. Sharp features in the k-power spectrum will be preserved in the multipole power spectrum to the extent that the projectors in Fig. 11b approximate delta functions. For scalar E-modes, the sharpness of the projection is enhanced due to strong Q-contributions near tex2html_wrap_inline1192 ( tex2html_wrap_inline1532 ) that then diminish as tex2html_wrap_inline1496 tex2html_wrap_inline1536 . The same enhancement occurs to a lesser extent for vector B-modes due to U near tex2html_wrap_inline1106 and tensor E-modes due to Q there. On the other hand, a supression occurs for vector E and tensor B-modes due to the absence of Q and U at tex2html_wrap_inline1106 respectively. These considerations have consequences for the sharpness of features in the polarization power spectrum, and the generation of asymptotic ``tails'' to the polarization spectrum at low- tex2html_wrap_inline1272 (see §4.4 and [Hu & White] 1997).

Next: Temperature-Polarization Correlation