|LIGO Publication Abstract|
An Optically Recombined Laser Interferometer for Gravitational Wave Detection
PhD Thesis, Caltech (1996)
|Kilometer scale interferometers for the detection of gravitational waves are currently under construction by the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) and VIRGO projects. These interferometers will consist of two Fabry-Perot cavities illuminated by a laser beam which is split in half by a beam splitter. A recycling mirror between the laser and the beam splitter will reflect the light returning from the beam splitter towards the laser back into the interferometer. The positions of the optical components in these interferometers must be controlled to a small fraction of a wavelength of the laser light. Schemes to extract signals necessary to control these optical components have been developed and demonstrated on the tabletop. In the large scale gravitational wave detectors the optical components must be suspended from vibration isolation platforms to achieve the necessary isolation from seismic motion. These suspended components present a new class of problems in controlling the interferometer, but also provide more exacting tests of interferometer signal and noise models.
This thesis discusses the first operation of a suspended-mass Fabry-Perot-Michelson interferometer, in which signals carried by the optically recombined beams are used to detect and control all important mirror displacements. This interferometer uses an optical configuration and signal extraction scheme that is planned for the full scale LIGO interferometers with the simplification of the removal of the recycling mirror. A theoretical analysis of the performance that is expected from such an interferometer is presented and the experimental results are shown to be in generally good agreement.