Reducing internal friction in optical thin films for the benefit of future gravitational wave detectors

Reference Speaker Authors
Matthew Robert Abernathy Abernathy, M.R.(National Accademy of Sciences); The most sensitive frequency band of modern ground-based interferometric gravitational wave detectors, like those used by LIGO to make the first direct detection of gravitational waves, is limited in part by the Brownian thermal noise of the dielectric thin films used to make the interferometer mirrors. This noise is directly related to the internal friction of the materials through the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. The development of optical thin films with low internal friction is therefore of great interest within the gravitational wave community. This plenary talk will cover the contributions of low internal-friction coatings to the recent detection of gravitational waves and detail current research directions within and without the LIGO Science Collaboration that seek further improvements in future detectors. These areas of research include the study of materials free of Two-Level Systems such as a-Si, crystalline systems such as AlGaAs, and the exploration of stable glass materials.
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