Lab experiments for interferometry on Earth

Lab experiments for interferometry on Earth

A good fraction of the more than 2000 square meter large laboratory space of the AEI is devoted to the experiments in the area of ground based interferometry.

The large floor space and the availability of a crane makes a high bay an ideal location for the AEI 10 m prototype. A second large area is occupied by a copy of the pre-stabilized Advanced LIGO 200 W laser. Furthermore several experiments are devoted to high power lasers and their stabilization:

The Advanced LIGO laser provides a highly stable 165 W laser beam in a clean spatial mode. This beam is used

  • measure the thermal lens in several optical components as Faraday Isolators, electro-optical modulators and other non-linear optical material that develops under high power illumination (in collaboration with University of Glasgow) [Bogan et al., in prep. (2013)]

Interferometric measurements often require an extraordinary high power stability of the light source. The crucial part of power stabilization experiments is the sensing of the power fluctuations. AEI physicists were able to achieve the world-wide best power stability of a laser which is equivalent to the shot noise of 200 mA of photocurrent [Kwee et al. Opt. Lett. (2009)].

A small table-top experiment is used to test and optimize the length and alignment control of two cavities used in a particle-physics experiment called ALPS in collaboration with DESY Hamburg. The main challenge of this experiment is, to stabilize an optical resonator to an imaginary gaussian beam without using any light with the same properties as this fictive beam.

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