Available student project - Vibration control for optical interferometry

Research fields

  • Quantum Science and Applications
  • Engineering in Physics
Uni-axis pendulum for optical seismometer

Project details

With the recent detection of gravitational waves by LIGO, the quest to further improve the astrophysical range and the detector's sensitivity is in full swing. At the ANU Centre for Gravitational Physics we have installed various hardware in the current LIGO detectors. 

As part of the national ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) we want to continue to be at the forefront of instrumentation development to enhance the sensitivity of current and future gravitational wave detectors around the world.

Optical interferometry is used in high precision displacement sensing, such as in the detection of gravitational waves. High precision measurements are achieved through the development of ever more quiet environments, where external noise is effectively mitigated. The reduction of mechanical motion is achieved by using low-noise seismometers to stablise a work platform. This seismometer, based on an uni-axis mechanical pendulum, will measure the motion of the work platform, produce a signal and provide this to an actuator to reduce the motion of the platform, creating a mechanical quiet environment.

In this project, the student will initially investigate the horizontal motion of the mechanical system of this seismometer, using LED's and photodiodes. Measurement and characterisation of the system, will allow a comparison of its performance with the mechanical model. During the project, the student will develop skills in electronics, optics, mechanical design and control systems. With sufficient progress of the project, the performance of the uni-axis seismometer may also be compared to a commercial seismometer, and the results presented in a research paper.

The Centre for Gravitational Physics, has 4 academics, 4 post-docs and 19 students, provides a vibrant research environment with research ranging from quantum opto-mechanics, classical optics, high power laser, fibre optics, fibre sensing.

Find out more by following the Further Information link below, or by visiting the Centre for Gravitational Physics website

Required background

Basic knowledge of optics and electronics is required, with experience in Matlab a bonus.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • Honours project

Contact supervisor

Slagmolen, Bram profile
Research Fellow

Other supervisor(s)

McClelland, David profile

Ward, Robert profile

Updated:  15 January 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster