International Summer Research Program in Gravitational-Wave Physics:
Research Experiences for Undergraduates around the world


Over the period 2004-2006, several students participated in pilot projects. Here are brief descriptions of these early projects:

University of Glasgow
  • Study of hydroxide bonding techniques (2004):
    Hydroxide bonding is a fairly new technology to bond oxide materials using hydroxide solution, commonly containing dissolved SiO2. The silicate polymerises between the surfaces to be jointes forming bonds which can be stronger than the material itself. These bonds will be used in Advanced LIGO to connect the fibers to the test masses and in LISA to bond mirrors to an optical bench. The student studied the details of the technique and developed an extension to the process resulting in her co-authoring a publication.
  • Thermal noise studies in mirror coatings (2006):
    Thermal noise in the test mass mirrors and the suspension systems forms one of the most important limitations to the sensitivity of ground-based interferometric gravitational wave detectors. The student used finite element models to simulate the shape and frequency of resonant modes of coated cantilevers. He evaluated the distribution of the stored energy and used his result to interpret ongoing experimental studies of the mechanical dissipation in these coated fused silica cantilevers.
University of Birmingham
  • Adapting low cost web cameras as beam analyzer (2006):
    Commercially available CCD beam analyzers are very expensive and sometimes cumbersome to use and calibrate. Recently, ordinary web cameras have reached a very high quality at relatively low cost. The student developed his own computer program to extract calibrated beam information from a CCD image of a laser beam.
University of Western Australia, Gingin site
  • Assembly and testing of large scale vibration isolator components (2005):
    Vibration isolation is one of the key technologies of ground-based interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. The students worked at the Gingin site which is a test facility for vibration isolation systems and high power laser tests for future gravitational wave detectors. The students worked on vibration isolation systems and laser safety components.
Laser Zentrum Hannover
  • Performance measurements of Faraday isolators at the Advanced LIGO laser (2004):
    The Laser Zentrum Hannover is currently developing a 200W single frequency and single spatial mode laser for Advanced LIGO. The student participated in first characterization measurements of the Advanced LIGO laser and also characterized high power Faraday isolators for Advanced LIGO.

Past IREU Projects
Proposed Projects, 2018