Enhanced Instrumentation for Gravitational Wave Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Science and Engineering


Our equipment upgrade proposed here is designed to maintain Glasgow and the UK's ability to stay at the forefront of the R&D critical in delivering future science goals at a time when the field is in a period of rapid growth.
Much of the experimental work funded by our consolidate grant is in the areas of developing cryogenic silicon suspensions for the next generation of detectors and in designing and measuring improved mirror coatings for the next stages of current detectors as well as for the next generation. To this end we believe that our international competitiveness and overall impact in the field will be significantly enhanced by the purchase and development of state of the art measurement, diagnostic and material preparation equipment. Thus for our bonding and coating research we are requesting funding for an infra-red camera which can enable inspection of bonded silicon interfaces which are otherwise visually inaccessible and support characterisation of scattering properties of coatings at wavelengths where the coatings for future detectors will be required to operate. For our suspension research we are requesting funding for a portable plasma source which can operate in the open laboratory to allow development of activation techniques for the surfaces of the suspension elements which have to be bonded together. This should allow bonds of higher quality and lower loss and lead to the reduction of one of the most important noise sources in gravitational wave detectors - thermal noise from the suspensions themselves and from the mirror substrates. For all quasi-monolithic construction to have ultra low mechanical loss, allowing low thermal noise, surface quality is of the utmost importance both in terms of roughness and figure. Thus we are requesting funding for a Microview interferometric surface profiler from Polytec which should allow us much improved surface diagnostics.
We should note that none of our proposed purchases raises any issues with respect to the UKRI Framework for Responsible Innovation


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