10 m Prototype Interferometer
The 10 m prototype interferometer is a test bed for new technologies of future laser interferometric gravitational wave detectors.
The 10 m prototype provides an ultra-low displacement noise environment, a large scale ultra-high vacuum envelope, a highly stabilized 35 W laser, low-noise DC power distribution, extensive environmental monitoring, full digital control infrastructure and data management, and, last but not least, enough flexibility to quickly change or re-arrange the experimental setup as need arises.
As the first and immediate experiment to be set up in this facility, a Michelson interferometer is built to explore the standard quantum limit (SQL) of interferometry. Reaching the SQL requires the interferometer sensitivity to be limited only by quantum noise at the measurement frequency. Moreover, quantum radiation pressure noise and photon shot noise must be equal in magnitude at this frequency. Until recently, this was thought to be the ultimate sensitivity that can be reached with an interferometric measurement.