Experiments Relevant to the Development of Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detectors

MacKenzie, Norman Lewis (1989) Experiments Relevant to the Development of Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detectors. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The development of gravitational wave detectors has been in progress for approximately twenty-five years. As yet there has been no clear evidence for the successful detection of such propagating fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime, but the prospects seem good that detectors of sufficient sensitivity to detect gravitational waves of astrophysical origin can be constructed in the near future. The most promising form of detector is the long baseline laser interferometer, and prototypes are being developed at a number of sites around the world. A 10 metre prototype is currently being developed in Glasgow. This thesis is an account of work based on the Glasgow prototype. After an elementary introduction to the theoretical foundations of gravitational waves, various sources of gravitational radiation, the nature of their emitted signal and their strengths are considered. Suitable detectors and their possible sensitivities are reviewed. Noise sources which could limit the sensitivity of laser interferometer detectors and the constraints which these place on the design of the detector are discussed. Since the test masses in an interferometer detector must be freely suspended as pendulums, yet their orientation must be accurately controlled to maintain correct alignment of the optical cavities forming the interferometer, an active orientation control system was developed and installed on the Glasgow prototype. This system provides a high degree of positional and angular stabilisation at low frequencies while leaving the test mass essentially free at high frequencies. Some of the potential limitations and noise sources are noted and their magnitudes calculated. A digital recording system was designed and used to record data from the prototype detector at Glasgow. The effects of the detector's response are analysed and techniques to recover the gravitational wave signal from the recorded data are described. The analysis of some data recorded with this system is then reported. The pulse statistics of the interferometer are analysed and the implications for searches for millisecond pulses of gravitational waves are discussed. The results of a search for periodic signals in the detector output are presented. Various sources of contamination which may be present in the detector output are identified, limitations of the recorded data are noted, and techniques which may be used to reduce the importance of these effects are described.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Astrophysics
Date of Award: 1989
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1989-78098
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78098

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