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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: James C. Wyant
  • Vol. 45, Iss. 7 — Mar. 1, 2006
  • pp: 1569–1574

Thermal noise from optical coatings in gravitational wave detectors

Gregory M. Harry, Helena Armandula, Eric Black, D. R. M. Crooks, Gianpietro Cagnoli, Jim Hough, Peter Murray, Stuart Reid, Sheila Rowan, Peter Sneddon, Martin M. Fejer, Roger Route, and Steven D. Penn  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 45, Issue 7, pp. 1569-1574 (2006)

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Gravitational waves are a prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity. These waves are created by massive objects, like neutron stars or black holes, oscillating at speeds appreciable to the speed of light. The detectable effect on the Earth of these waves is extremely small, however, creating strains of the order of 10 21 . There are a number of basic physics experiments around the world designed to detect these waves by using interferometers with very long arms, up to 4   km in length. The next-generation interferometers are currently being designed, and the thermal noise in the mirrors will set the sensitivity over much of the usable bandwidth. Thermal noise arising from mechanical loss in the optical coatings put on the mirrors will be a significant source of noise. Achieving higher sensitivity through lower mechanical loss coatings, while preserving the crucial optical and thermal properties, is an area of active research right now.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(310.1620) Thin films : Interference coatings
(310.6870) Thin films : Thin films, other properties
(350.1270) Other areas of optics : Astronomy and astrophysics

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: March 1, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: July 7, 2005

Gregory M. Harry, Helena Armandula, Eric Black, D. R. M. Crooks, Gianpietro Cagnoli, Jim Hough, Peter Murray, Stuart Reid, Sheila Rowan, Peter Sneddon, Martin M. Fejer, Roger Route, and Steven D. Penn, "Thermal noise from optical coatings in gravitational wave detectors," Appl. Opt. 45, 1569-1574 (2006)

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