Indexed on: 05 Jul '02Published on: 05 Jul '02Published in: Physical review letters
Inflationary gravitational waves (GW) contribute to the curl component in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Cosmic shear--gravitational lensing of the CMB--converts a fraction of the dominant gradient polarization to the curl component. Higher-order correlations can be used to map the cosmic shear and subtract this contribution to the curl. Arcminute resolution will be required to pursue GW amplitudes smaller than those accessible by the Planck surveyor mission. The blurring by lensing of small-scale CMB power leads with this reconstruction technique to a minimum detectable GW amplitude corresponding to an inflation energy near 10(15) GeV.