The fast progress in improving the sensitivity of the gravitational-wave detectors, we all have witnessed in the recent years, has propelled the scientific community to the point at which quantum behavior of such immense measurement devices as kilometer-long interferometers starts to matter. The time when their sensitivity will be mainly limited by the quantum noise of light is around the corner, and finding ways to reduce it will become a necessity. Therefore, the primary goal we pursued in this review was to familiarize a broad spectrum of readers with the theory of quantum measurements in the very form it finds application in the area of gravitational-wave detection. We focus on how quantum noise arises in gravitational-wave interferometers and what limitations it imposes on the achievable sensitivity. We start from the very basic concepts and gradually advance to the general linear quantum measurement theory and its application to the calculation of quantum noise in the contemporary and planned interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation of the first and second generation. Special attention is paid to the concept of the Standard Quantum Limit and the methods of its surmounting.
Posts Tagged ‘Laser interferometry’
Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational-wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational-wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free spacecraft. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world – LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) – and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with the significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future “third generation” gravitational-wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed.
Several km-scale gravitational-wave detectors have been constructed world wide. These instruments combine a number of advanced technologies to push the limits of precision length measurement. The core devices are laser interferometers of a new kind; developed from the classical Michelson topology these interferometers integrate additional optical elements, which significantly change the properties of the optical system. Much of the design and analysis of these laser interferometers can be performed using well-known classical optical techniques, however, the complex optical layouts provide a new challenge. In this review we give a textbook-style introduction to the optical science required for the understanding of modern gravitational wave detectors, as well as other high-precision laser interferometers. In addition, we provide a number of examples for a freely available interferometer simulation software and encourage the reader to use these examples to gain hands-on experience with the discussed optical methods.
Equal-arm interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation allow phase measurements many orders of magnitude below the intrinsic phase stability of the laser injecting light into their arms. This is because the noise in the laser light is common to both arms, experiencing exactly the same delay, and thus cancels when it is differenced at the photo detector. In this situation, much lower level secondary noises then set the overall performance. If, however, the two arms have different lengths (as will necessarily be the case with space-borne interferometers), the laser noise experiences different delays in the two arms and will hence not directly cancel at the detector. In order to solve this problem, a technique involving heterodyne interferometry with unequal arm lengths and independent phase-difference readouts has been proposed. It relies on properly time-shifting and linearly combining independent Doppler measurements, and for this reason it has been called Time-Delay Interferometry (TDI). This article provides an overview of the theory and mathematical foundations of TDI as it will be implemented by the forthcoming space-based interferometers such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission. We have purposely left out from this first version of our “Living Review” article on TDI all the results of more practical and experimental nature, as well as all the aspects of TDI that the data analysts will need to account for when analyzing the LISA TDI data combinations. Our forthcoming “second edition” of this review paper will include these topics.