LIGO Document T1301000-x0

Prediction of Modes in Silica Q Disks

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T - Technical notes
Project of high school student Isaac Jiffar, Montgomery Blair HS, while at American University LIGO group summer 2013.
Updates are currently being made to LIGO, a gravitational wave detector through a program called Advanced LIGO in order to improve the chances of detecting gravitational waves. One major obstacle to the detection of gravitational waves is the thermal noise from the coatings and epoxies used in the detector. If the thermal noise can be reduced, the sensitivity will be increased, and the chance of detecting gravitational waves will be significantly improved. In related experiments conducted at American University, a laser was used to send different frequencies of light through pieces of silica glass covered in coatings, (used to simulate a LIGO mirror) looking for frequencies where the amplitude of the glass’s vibration is much higher than at surrounding frequencies. This is called a “mode.” Once these modes are found, the glass’s behavior is examined at each of these points to find the thermal noise of the pieces of glass and the coatings. The goal of this project was to develop a program that would accept one or more mode frequencies of a sample and use known properties of the material to predict the higher modes so they could be found more efficiently.
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