LIGO Document P1100013-v1

Characterization of the Photon Calibrator data from LIGO's sixth Science Run

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Accurate and precise calibration of kilometer-scale interferometric gravitational wave detectors is crucial. Several methods have been employed to calibrate the response of these interferometers to di fferential length variations. One such technique is the so-called Photon Calibrator.
The Photon Calibrator method uses an auxiliary, power-modulated laser
reflected from the mirror at the end of one of the interferometer arms to induce calibrated displacements via the recoil of photons from the surface of the optic. Photon Calibrators have been operating continuously at both of LIGO's observatories during the entire Science Run, designated S6, that began on July 7, 2009 and is expected to end on October 6, 2010. The principal objective of the Photon Calibrators during S6 was investigation of the long-term stability of the calibration of the actuators that control the lengths of the interferometer arms. Characterization of the Photon Calibrators data is the subject of the research for this thesis that was carried out while the author was resident at the LIGO Hanford Observatory for ten weeks during the summer of 2010.
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