LIGO Document P1300006-v1
- Direct detection of gravitational waves will require earth based detectors to measure strains of the order \( 10^{-21} \), at frequencies of 100 Hz, a sensitivity that has been accomplished with the initial generation of LIGO interferometric gravitational wave detectors. A new generation of detectors currently under construction is designed improve on the sensitivity of the initial detectors by about a factor of 10. The quantum nature of light will limit the sensitivity of these Advanced LIGO interferometers at most frequencies; new approaches to reducing the quantum noise will be needed to improve the sensitivity further. This quantum noise originates from the vacuum fluctuations that enter the unused port of the interferometer and interfere with the laser light. Vacuum fluctuations have the minimum noise allowed by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, \( \Delta X_{1} \Delta X_{2}\geq 1 \), where the two quadratures \( X_{1} \) and \( X_{2} \) are non-commuting observables responsible for the two forms of quantum noise, shot noise and radiation pressure noise. By replacing the vacuum fluctuations entering the interferometer with squeezed states, which have lower noise in one quadrature than the vacuum state, we have reduced the shot noise of a LIGO interferometer. The sensitivity to gravitational waves measured during this experiment represents the best sensitivity achieved to date at frequencies above 200Hz, and possibly the first time that squeezing has been measured in an interferometer at frequencies below 700Hz. The possibility that injection of squeezed states could introduce environmental noise couplings that would degrade the crucial but fragile low frequency sensitivity of a LIGO interferometer has been a major concern in planning to implement squeezing as part of baseline interferometer operations. These results demonstrate that squeezing is compatible with the low frequency sensitivity of a full scale gravitational wave interferometer. We also investigated the limits to the level of squeezing observed, including optical losses and fluctuations of the squeezing angle. The lessons learned should allow for responsible planning to implement squeezing in Advanced LIGO, either as an alternative to high power operation or an early upgrade to improve the sensitivity.
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