Mechanical aspects in interferometric gravity wave detectors
In order to measure the tiny effects of gravitational waves, strains in space (i.e. relative changes in distance) of as little as 10-21 or even less have to be detected, at frequencies ranging from 10011z to several kHz. Large laser interferometers are the most promising approach to reach such extreme sensitivities. This ‘straightforward’ road is, however, obstructed by a multitude of effects that cause (or fake) such fluctuations in distance. Among these are seismic motions, thermal vibrations of optical components, pressure fluctuations of the residual gas in the vacuum tubes, and fundamental effects such as Heisenberg's uncertainty relation.
What all of these noise sources have in common is that their effects can be reduced by the choice of sufficiently large arm lengths. This is what dictates the (very expensive) choice of arm lengths of 3 to 4 km in the currently proposed gravitational wave detectors (USA, D-GB, F-I, AUS, JAP).
KeywordsGravitational Wave Shot Noise Seismic Noise Seismic Isolation Double Pendulum
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