A step-wise steerable source of illumination for low-noise "Violin-Mode" shadow sensors, intended for use in interferometric gravitational wave detectors

N. A. Lockerbie, K. V. Tokmakov

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Abstract

A steerable low-noise source of illumination is described for shadow-sensors having a displacement sensitivity of ∼100 pm (rms)/√Hz, at 500 Hz, over a measuring span of at least ±0.5 mm. These sensors were designed to detect lateral "Violin-Mode" resonances in the highly tensioned fused-silica
suspension fibres of the test-masses/mirrors for the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory gravitational wave detectors. The shadow sensors—one intended for each of the four fibres in a suspension—comprised a source of Near InfraRed (NIR) radiation (emitter) and a differential shadow-displacement sensor (detector), these bracketing the fibre under test. The suspension fibres themselves were approximately 600 mm long by 0.4 mm in diameter, and when illuminated from the side, they cast narrow, vertical, shadows onto their respective detectors—these being located at an effective distance of 50 fibre diameters behind the axes of the fibres themselves. The emitter described here was designed to compensate for a significant degree of mechanical drift or creep over time in the mean position of its suspension fibre. This was achieved by employing five adjacent columns of 8 × miniature NIR LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes, λ = 890 nm), with one column being activated at a time. When used in conjunction with a "reverse Galilean" telescope, the LED sources allowed the collimated beam from the emitter to be steered azimuthally in fine angular increments (0.65◦), causing the fibre's shadow to move laterally, in a step-wise manner, across the plane of its facing detector. Each step in shadow position was approximately 0.23 mm in size, and
this allowed the fibre's shadow to be re-centred, so as to bridge once again both elements of its photodiode detector—even if the fibre was off-centred by as much as ±0.5 mm. Re-centring allowed Violin-Mode vibrations of the fibre to be sensed once again as differential AC photocurrents, these flowing in anti-phase in the two elements of the "split-photodiode" detector. C 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number015001
Number of pages7
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Volume87
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • advanced LIGO violin-mode steerable LED shadow sensor
  • shadow-sensors
  • gravitational wave detectors
  • shadow steering

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