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Long-Baseline Laser Interferometry for the Detection of Binary Black-Hole Mergers


Hall, Evan Drew (2017) Long-Baseline Laser Interferometry for the Detection of Binary Black-Hole Mergers. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9PG1PQ9.


Late in 2015, gravitational physics reached a watershed moment with the first direct detections of gravitational waves. Two events, each from the coalescence of a binary black hole system, were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). At present, LIGO comprises two 4 km laser interferometers, one in Washington and the other in Louisiana; a third detector is planned to be installed in India. These interferometers, known as Advanced LIGO, belong to the so-called “second generation” of gravitational-wave detectors. Compared to the first-generation LIGO detectors (Initial and Enhanced LIGO), these instruments use multi-stage active seismic isolation, heavier and higher-quality mirrors, and more laser power to achieve an unprecedented sensitivity to gravitational waves. In 2015, both Advanced LIGO detectors achieved a strain sensitivity better than 10-23/Hz1/2 at a few hundred hertz; ultimately, these detectors are designed to achieve a sensitivity of a few parts in 10-24/Hz1/2 at a few hundred hertz.

This thesis covers several topics in gravitational physics and laser interferometry. First, it presents the design, control scheme, and noise performance of the Advanced LIGO detector in Washington during the first observing run (O1). Second, it discusses some issues relating to interferometer calibration, and the impact of calibration errors on astrophysical parameter estimation. Third, it discusses the prospects for using terrestrial and space-based laser interferometers as dark matter detectors.

This thesis has the internal LIGO document number P1600295.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:gravitational waves; laser interferometers
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Adhikari, Rana
Thesis Committee:
  • Adhikari, Rana (chair)
  • Chen, Yanbei
  • Golwala, Sunil
  • Weinstein, Alan Jay
Defense Date:14 November 2016
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
LIGO Document Control CenterP1600295
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Science FoundationPHY-0757058
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:01302017-113507797
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Document Control Center (password required for access) adapted for ch. 6 adapted for ch. 2 adapted for ch. 3
Hall, Evan Drew0000-0001-9018-666X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10031
Deposited By: Evan Hall
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 20:11
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 18:19

Thesis Files

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