Detection of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources remains one of the most challenging problems faced by experimental physicists. A significant limit to the sensitivity of future long-baseline interferometric gravitational wave detectors is thermal displacement noise of the test mass mirrors and their suspensions. Suspension thermal noise results from mechanical dissipation in the fused silica suspension fibers suspending the test mass mirrors and is therefore an important noise source at operating frequencies between ∼10 and 30 Hz. This dissipation occurs due to a combination of thermoelastic damping, surface and bulk losses. Its effects can be reduced by optimizing the thermoelastic and surface loss, and these parameters are a function of the cross sectional dimensions of the fiber along its length. This paper presents a new apparatus capable of high resolution measurements of the cross sectional dimensions of suspension fibers of both rectangular and circular cross section, suitable for use in advanced detector mirror suspensions.
- gravitational waves
- gravitational wave detection
- fused silica suspension fiber