LIGO Document T1400402-v1

High fidelity probe and mitigation of mirror thermal fluctuations

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T - Technical notes
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Thermal noise arising from mechanical loss in high reflective dielectric coatings is a significant source of noise in precision optical measurements. In particular, Advanced LIGO, a large scale interferometer aiming to observed gravitational wave, is expected to be limited by coating thermal noise in the most sensitive region around 30–300 Hz. Various theoretical calculations for predicting coating Brownian noise have been proposed. However, due to the relatively limited knowledge of the coating material properties, an accurate approximation of the noise cannot be achieved. A testbed that can directly observed coating thermal noise close to Advanced LIGO band will serve as an indispensable tool to verify the calculations, study material properties of the coating, and estimate the detector’s performance.
This dissertation reports a setup that has sensitivity to observe wide band (10Hz to 1kHz) thermal noise from fused silica/tantala coating at room temperature from fixed-spacer Fabry–Perot cavities. Important fundamental noises and technical noises associated with the setup are discussed. The coating loss obtained from the measurement agrees with results reported in the literature. The setup serves as a testbed to study thermal noise in high reflective mirrors from different materials. One example is a heterostructure of AlxGa1−xAs (AlGaAs). An optimized design to minimize thermo–optic noise in the coating is proposed and discussed in this work.
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thermal noise

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