August 1, 2014.
This research focuses on laser ranging developments for LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), a planned NASA-ESA gravitational wave detector in space. LISA will utilize precision laser interferometry to track the changes in separation between three satellites orbiting 5 million kilometers apart. Specifically, our goal is to investigate options for laser frequency stabilization. Previous research has shown that an optical cavity system can meet LISA's stability requirements, but these units are large and heavy, adding cost to the implementation. A heterodyne Mach-Zehnder interferometer could be integrated onto LISA’s existing optical bench, greatly reducing the weight, provided the interferometer meets the stability requirements. On this poster, we describe a performance comparison between an optical cavity and a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, by measuring the relative phase of stabilized lasers from the two systems. This project's results will determine whether a heterodyne Mach-Zehnder is suitable for LISA.
Cosmology, Relativity, and Gravity | Instrumentation | Optics
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013 and Grant No. 0934931. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).