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Studies of materials for use in future interferometric gravitational wave detectors

Martin, Iain William (2009) Studies of materials for use in future interferometric gravitational wave detectors. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Gravitational waves, predicted by the theory of General Relativity, are fluctuations in the curvature of space-time which arise from the asymmetric acceleration of mass. While gravitational waves have yet to be detected directly, measurements of the inspiral rate of a binary pulsar system have provided strong evidence for their existence and a world-wide effort to develop more sensitive detectors is ongoing. In addition to testing predictions of General Relativity, observation and analysis of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources will provide new insights into a wide range of phenomena including black holes, neutron stars and supernovae. Gravitational waves are quadruple in nature, and therefore produce fluctuating tidal strains on space. Long baseline gravitational wave detectors aim to measure this effect using laser interferometry to measure fluctuations in the relative separation of free masses, coated to form highly reflective mirrors and suspended as pendulums at the ends of perpindicular arms up to 4 km in length. There are currently several long baseline gravitational wave detectors in operation around the world, including the three LIGO detectors in the US, the UK/German GEO600 detector near Hannover and the French/Italian Virgo detector near Pisa. The strain expected from gravitational waves is very small, of order [~10-[superscript 22. The magnitude of the resultant displacement is such that the thermal motion of the mirrors and their suspensions forms an important limit to detector sensitivity. The level of thermal noise is related to the mechanical dissipation of the materials used in the test mass and the mirror coatings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Supervisor's Name: Ronan, Prof. Sheila
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-1517
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2013 15:37
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1517

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