Squeezed light sources for current and future interferometric gravitational-wave detectors




Mansell, Georgia L

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The era of gravitational-wave astronomy has begun, with the detection of 5 confirmed binary black holes and a binary neutron star coalescence by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational- wave Observatory (aLIGO), and later with the advanced Virgo detector. These detections have already revealed a wealth of discoveries across the fields of nuclear physics, general relativity and astrophysics. The work presented in this thesis is part of the ongoing effort to improve the sensitivity of ground-based interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. The sensitivity of aLIGO, and other interferometric detectors, is broadly limited by quantum noise. Improving on the quantum noise will increase the astrophysical range of the detectors, and improve the source parameter estimation. One way to reduce quantum noise is to inject audio- band squeezed vacuum states into the detection port. This technique has been demonstrated on the initial LIGO and GEO600 detectors. A squeezed light source for aLIGO must meet stringent requirements in terms of optical loss, phase noise, and scattered light. The squeezer must produce high levels of audio-band squeezing and operate under vacuum, to take advantage of the excellent existing isolation systems and to minimise optical loss. At design sensitivity, squeezed states whose quantum noise depends on frequency will be required. We have demonstrated an ultra-stable glass-based squeezed light source, the first experiment of this kind to operate under vacuum. The squeezer cavity is constructed quasi-monolithically, with optics and nonlinear crystal oven optically contacted to a breadboard base. The cavity is designed to have extremely low length noise, and to produce high levels of audio-band squeezing. We have measured 8.6 ± 0.9 dB of squeezing and infer the generation of 14.2 ± 1.0 dB after accounting for all known losses. The squeezer has demonstrated record phase noise performance of 1.3 mradRMS, dominated by sources other than cavity length noise. This exceeds the phase-noise requirement for a squeezer for aLIGO. A copy of this squeezer is currently being installed in a squeezing- ellipse rotation experiment to demonstrate frequency-dependent squeezing for aLIGO. Lessons learnt during the construction and operation of the in-vacuum squeezer have helped inform the design of a frequency-independent squeezed light source currently being installed at the LIGO sites. Future gravitational-wave detectors will continue to use interferometric techniques, and will be limited by quantum noise for the foreseeable future. To improve on thermal noise limits and interferometer power handling, future detectors look to cryogenic silicon as a test mass material. To take advantage of the desirable properties of silicon, including low scatter and absorption, a longer operating wavelength is required. The proposed LIGO Voyager upgrade has an operating wavelength in the 2 μ m region, with the specific wavelength to be determined. LIGO Voyager will require a squeezed light source in the 2 μ m region to reach its design sensitivity. We present the design, characterisation, and results of the first squeezed light source in the 2 μ m region. Laser and detector technologies at 2 μ m are less developed than their 1064 nm counterparts, causing significant technical challenges. We have measured 4.0 ± 0.2 dB of squeez- ing at 1984 nm, limited by loss due to detector quantum efficiency. Accounting for known losses in the system, we infer the generation of 10 dB of squeezing. This is an important demonstra- tion of quantum noise reduction for future detectors, and a pathfinder technology for the design choices of LIGO Voyager. So far we have found no reason why a 2 μ m interferometer should not be feasible.



physics, gravitational waves, quantum optics, squeezed light




Thesis (PhD)

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights



Restricted until