Optical read-out techniques for the control of test-masses in gravitational wave observatories

Aston, Stuart M. (2011). Optical read-out techniques for the control of test-masses in gravitational wave observatories. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis discusses the development of optical read-out techniques, including a simple shadow sensor and a more elaborate compact homodyne interferometer, known as EUCLID. Both of these sensors could be utilised as part of a seismic isolation and suspension system of a ground-based gravitational wave observatory, such as Advanced LIGO. As part of the University of Birmingham’s commitment to the upgrade of the Advanced LIGO, it was responsible for providing a large quantity of sensor and actuator units. This required the development and qualification of the shadow sensor, through to production and testing. While characterising production units, an excess noise issue was uncovered and eventually mitigated; demonstrating that even for a ‘simple’ shadow sensor, ensuring a large quantity of units meet the target sensitivity requirement of 300 pm/rt-Hz at 1 Hz, is not a trivial exercise. Over the duration of this research, I played a key role in the design and fabrication of a novel compact interferometer. The objective of this work was to demonstrate that the interferometric technique offers a significant improvement over the existing shadow sensors and could easily be deployed in current, or future, generations of gravitational wave observatories. Encouraging sensitivities of approximately 50 pm/rt-Hz at 1 Hz, over operating ranges of approximately 6 mm have been achieved, whilst maintaining around 1 degree of mirror tilt immunity. In addition, this design overcomes many of the drawbacks traditionally associated with interferometers.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/1665


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