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Published April 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Apparatus for dimensional characterization of fused silica fibers for the suspensions of advanced gravitational wave detectors


Detection of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources remains one of the most challenging problems faced by experimental physicists. A significant limit to the sensitivity of future long-baseline interferometric gravitational wave detectors is thermal displacement noise of the test mass mirrors and their suspensions. Suspension thermal noise results from mechanical dissipation in the fused silica suspension fibers suspending the test mass mirrors and is therefore an important noise source at operating frequencies between ∼10 and 30 Hz. This dissipation occurs due to a combination of thermoelastic damping, surface and bulk losses. Its effects can be reduced by optimizing the thermoelastic and surface loss, and these parameters are a function of the cross sectional dimensions of the fiber along its length. This paper presents a new apparatus capable of high resolution measurements of the cross sectional dimensions of suspension fibers of both rectangular and circular cross section, suitable for use in advanced detector mirror suspensions.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Institute of Physics. Received 12 January 2011; accepted 30 March 2011; published online 21 April 2011. The authors would like to thank Colin Craig and Stephen Craig for their work toward the construction of the machine. We would like to thank our colleagues in the GEO600 project, the LSC–Virgo collaboration, and within SUPA for their interest in this work. We are grateful for the financial support provided by Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Royal Society, the Wolfson Foundation, and the University of Glasgow in the UK. We would also like to thank the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA (Award Nos. PHY-05 02641 and PHY-07 57896). LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operates under cooperative agreement PHY-0107417. We would like to thank our colleagues in the LSC and Virgo collaborations and within SUPA for their interest in this work. This paper has LIGO document number P1000178.

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