An AC modulated Near InfraRed gain calibration system for a "Violin-Mode" transimpedance amplifier, intended for advanced LIGO suspensions

N. A. Lockerbie, K. V. Tokmakov

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The background to this work was a prototype shadow sensor, which was designed for retro-fitting to an Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) test-mass/mirror suspension, in which a 40 kg test-mass/mirror is suspended by four approximately 600 mm long by 0.4 mm diameter fused-silica suspension fibres. The shadow sensor comprised a LED source of Near InfraRed (NIR) radiation, and a ‘tall-thin’ rectangular silicon photodiode detector, which together were to bracket the fibre under test. The photodiode was positioned so as to be sensitive (primarily) to transverse ‘Violin-Mode’ vibrations of such a fibre, via the oscillatory movement of the shadow cast by the fibre, as this moved across the face of the detector. In this prototype shadow sensing system the photodiode was interfaced to a purpose-built transimpedance amplifier, this having both AC and DC outputs. A quasi-static calibration was made of the sensor’s DC responsivity, i.e., incremental rate of change of output voltage versus fibre position, by slowly scanning a fused-silica fibre sample transversely through the illuminating beam. The work reported here concerns the determination of the sensor’s more important AC (Violin-Mode) responsivity. Recognition of the correspondence between direct AC modulation of the source, and actual Violin-Mode signals, and of the transformative rôle of the AC/DC gain ratio for the amplifier, at any modulation frequency, f, resulted in the construction of the AC/DC calibration source described here. A method for determining in practice the transimpedance AC/DC gain ratio of the photodiode and amplifier, using this source, is illustrated by a specific numerical example, and the gain ratio for the prototype sensing system is reported over the frequency range 1 Hz–300 kHz. In fact, a maximum DC responsivity of 1.26 kV.m-1 was measured using the prototype photodiode sensor and amplifier discussed here. Therefore, the measured AC/DC transimpedance gain ratio of 922.5 for this sensor, at 500 Hz, translated into a maximum Violin-Mode (AC) responsivity of (1.16  0.05) MVm-1, at that frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Article number075002
Number of pages10
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2016


  • AC modulation
  • LED
  • shadow-sensors
  • displacement sensors
  • transimpedance
  • amplifier
  • optical feedback
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory


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