MSc/BSc thesis: A quantitative analysis on the impact of beam imperfection on high precision interferometry

Job Offer from January 28, 2022

High precision interferometers are the cornerstone of modern gravitational wave astronomy and geodesy missions and are responsible for their tremendous success. They can detect microscopic length fluctuations along their optical paths thanks to their extraordinary sensitivity. However, this comes at a price: They are equally sensitive to unwanted external perturbations.

Many of these noise sources could be identified in the past, which were reduced considerably. Still, the contribution of some sources is unknown and yet to be determined. One of them is the beam imperfections present in any measurement beam.

The project

For this Master’s or Bachelor’s project, you will use our in-house C++ library IfoCAD to determine the impact of beam imperfections onto the output signal of a heterodyne interferometer. To achieve this, you will explore and simulate a heterodyne readout signal while deforming a fundamental Gaussian beam using a superposition of Hermite-Gaussian modes. To validate the simulations, you will compare your findings to experimental data. For this, wavefront properties will be measured in the laboratory and characterized using a dedicated fit algorithm.

Your work will help gauge the impact of beam imperfections on the readout of high-precision interferometers and guide decisions on the care needed to improve the purity of beam geometries in future experiments.

Prior knowledge about Gaussian beam theory, interferometry, and C/C++ would be beneficial.


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