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23 August 2005 A thermal adaptive mode-matching telescope for interferometric gravitational wave detectors
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Abstract
In the advancing field of gravitational wave interferometry, the desire for greater sensitivity leads to higher laser powers to reduce shot noise. Current detectors[1] such as LIGO and GEO 600 operate with continuous wave lasers at 10-15 W powers, however future versions will operate at 200 W. One of the major challenges of higher power operation is the creation of thermal lenses in optical components, caused by from the absorption of laser light, yielding optical path deformation and concomitant beam aberrations. This effect is especially problematic in transmissive optical components even at very low levels of absorbed power. In environments that restrict the ability to move optical components (such as gravitational wave detectors), this effect can be used for beneficial purposes, specifically for providing adjustable beam-shaping. The method employs an additional laser having a wavelength strongly absorbed by the substrate and can create an aberration-free parabolic lens can be created provided that the heating beam mode is substantially larger than the transmitted beam mode. The resulting focal length varies inversely with the heating laser power. This idea forms the basis for an adaptive optical telescope. We present experimental and theoretical results on a laser adaptive mode-matching system that uses an argon laser absorbed in a color glass filter. We characterize the dynamic focal range of the lens and measure the resulting aberrations in the transmitted Nd:YAG beam. Our results are in good agreement with a theoretical model incorporating the temperature distribution of the lens and the relevant thermo-optic parameters.
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Volker Quetschke, Joseph Gleason, Christina Leidel, Michelle Snider, Jinho Lee, Malik Rakhmanov, Liang Zhang, Guido Mueller, David Reitze, and David Tanner "A thermal adaptive mode-matching telescope for interferometric gravitational wave detectors", Proc. SPIE 5876, Laser Beam Shaping VI, 58760W (23 August 2005); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.617745
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