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Published December 18, 2012 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Realization of low-loss mirrors with sub-nanometer flatness for future gravitational wave detectors


The second generation of gravitational wave detectors will aim at improving by an order of magnitude their sensitivity versus the present ones (LIGO and VIRGO). These detectors are based on long-baseline Michelson interferometer with high finesse Fabry-Perot cavity in the arms and have strong requirements on the mirrors quality. These large low-loss mirrors (340 mm in diameter, 200 mm thick) must have a near perfect flatness. The coating process shall not add surface figure Zernike terms higher than second order with amplitude >0.5 nm over the central 160 mm diameter. The limits for absorption and scattering losses are respectively 0.5 and 5 ppm. For each cavity the maximum loss budget due to the surface figure error should be smaller than 50 ppm. Moreover the transmission matching between the two inputs mirrors must be better than 99%. We describe the different configurations that were explored in order to respect all these requirements. Coatings are done using IBS. The two first configurations based on a single rotation motion combined or not with uniformity masks allow to obtain coating thickness uniformity around 0.2 % rms on 160 mm diameter. But this is not sufficient to meet all the specifications. A planetary motion completed by masking technique has been studied. With simulated values the loss cavity is below 20 ppm, better than the requirements. First experimental results obtained with the planetary system will be presented.

Additional Information

© 2012 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The results described in this paper were possible thanks to the work of several staff members at the Laboratoire des Matériaux Avancés. In particular we would like to thank Mrs Pignard. Virgo has been constructed and is operated by the Centre National Recherche Scientifique and the Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare. LIGO was constructed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology with funding from the National Science Foundation and operates under cooperative agreement PHY-0757058. This paper has LIGO Document Number LIGO-P1200174-v1.

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