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

University of Adelaide
  • High precision measurement of optical parameters for GW interferometers using Hartmann wavefront sensors:
    Hartmann sensors can measure wavefronts and changes in wavefronts with unsurpassed sensitivity and accuracy - and they are robust and simple to use. On-axis sensors have thus been installed in the aLIGO interferometers to measure absorption-induced wavefront distortion in the input test masses (ITMs) and to monitor the Thermal Compensation System used to compensate for these distortions. They can also be used for a variety of other applications that will be important for the development of next-generation GW interferometers, such as the measurement of:
    • Wavefront distortion in beam-splitters,
    • Focal lengths of lenses, and characterization of image- and wavefront-relay telescopes, and
    • Off-axis measurement of absorption-induced changes in the radius of curvature of the test masses.
    The aim of your project would be to investigate one of these applications and determine its sensitivity.
    Mentors: David Ottaway and Peter Veitch
    Related Project 2010: "Characterizing the Temperature Sensitivity of the Hartmann Sensor"

Past Projects: University of Adelaide
  • Characterization of latest generation Hartmann sensor:
    We have recently developed a next generation Hartmann sensor. This sensor makes use of careful thermal engineering to improve the long term stability of the sensor. Preliminary measurements have shown that the sensor has a sensitivity better than lambda/25000. This project will complete the characterization of the sensitivity and accuracy of the sensor.
    Mentors: David Ottaway and Peter Veitch
    Related Project 2010: "Characterizing the Temperature Sensitivity of the Hartmann Sensor"
  • Development of Matlab programs for analysis of Hartmann measurements:
    The state-of-the art CCD camera in the Hartmann sensor records the intensity distribution of the Hartmann probe beam. In this project, you will interface the cameras to a PC running a Linux operating system, and develop Matlab programs to analyze the intensity distribution, thereby determining the thermal state of the interferometer.
    Mentors: David Ottaway and Peter Veitch
  • Related Project 2011: "Setting up for a Backscatter Rate Experiment in an Optical Cavity"

Past IREU Projects
Other Prior Projects