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.
Posts Tagged ‘Optics’
by: Jean-Yves Vinet
The sensitivity of present ground-based gravitational wave antennas is too low to detect many events per year. It has, therefore, been planned for years to build advanced detectors allowing actual astrophysical observations and investigations. In such advanced detectors, one major issue is to increase the laser power in order to reduce shot noise. However, this is useless if the thermal noise remains at the current level in the 100 Hz spectral region, where mirrors are the main contributors. Moreover, increasing the laser power gives rise to various spurious thermal effects in the same mirrors. The main goal of the present study is to discuss these issues versus the transverse structure of the readout beam, in order to allow comparison. A number of theoretical studies and experiments have been carried out, regarding thermal noise and thermal effects. We do not discuss experimental problems, but rather focus on some theoretical results in this context about arbitrary order Laguerre–Gauss beams, and other “exotic” beams.