The advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors are nearing their design sensitivity and should begin taking meaningful astrophysical data in the fall of 2015. These resonant optical interferometers will have unprecedented sensitivity to the strains caused by passing gravitational waves. The input optics play a significant part in allowing these devices to reach such sensitivities. Residing between the pre-stabilized laser and the main interferometer, the input optics subsystem is tasked with preparing the laser beam for interferometry at the sub-attometer level while operating at continuous wave input power levels ranging from 100 mW to 150 W. These extreme operating conditions required every major component to be custom designed. These designs draw heavily on the experience and understanding gained during the operation of Initial LIGO and Enhanced LIGO. In this article, we report on how the components of the input optics were designed to meet their stringent requirements and present measurements showing how well they have lived up to their design.
|Journal||Review of Scientific Instruments|
|State||Published - Jan 2016|