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9 December 2004 Optical coatings for gravitational-wave detection
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Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicts waves in spacetime caused by oscillating masses. Such waves, known as gravitational waves, are predicted to be created by binary black hole or neutron star inspirals, super-nova, or other catastrophic astronomical events. Even with such large masses moving so repidly, the expected size of the waves is extremely small, typically of order 10-21 in unitless strain as seen on Earth. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, is a basic physics experiments designed to detect and study these waves. The next generation interferometers, known as Advanced LIGO, are currently being designed. Thermal noise from mechanical loss in the optical coatings of the mirrors is expected to be an important limiting noise source. Reducing this noise by developing lower mechanical loss coatings, while preserving optical and thermal properties needed in the interferometer, is an area of active research.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gregory M. Harry, Helena Armandula, Eric Black, David R. M. Crooks, Gianpietro Cagnoli, Martin M. Fejer, James Hough, Steven D. Penn, Sheila Rowan, Roger K. Route, and Peter Sneddon "Optical coatings for gravitational-wave detection", Proc. SPIE 5578, Photonics North 2004: Photonic Applications in Astronomy, Biomedicine, Imaging, Materials Processing, and Education, (9 December 2004);

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