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

INFN and UniversitÓ degli Studi "Federico II", Napoli
  • Characterize electrostatic actuation for controling a suspended Michelson interferometer:
    Electrostatic actuators are less sensitive to environmental noise and allow a lower thermal noise than magnetic actuators. Nevertheless, they need to be carefully designed and characterized to ensure an effective and low noise actuation for mirror displacement. A very sensitive experiment will be implemented to measure the performance of an electrostatic actuator on a suspended mirror in a Michelson interferometer. It will allow the theoretical model to be compared with experimental results related to parameters such as distance, voltage and geometry of the actuator. The system will be developed and studied by the student, with the help of computer-based analysis tools.
    Mentor: Rosario De Rosa
  • Characterization an optical read-out for the inertial sensor of LISA:
    One key technology for LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is the inertial sensors. In each spacecraft there are two test masses (TMs) that are supposed to be in free fall. The spacecraft surrounding the TMs is affected by disturbance forces and deviates from pure geodesic motion. The inertial sensor is a position sensor which measures the position of the spacecraft relative to the TM. The signal is used in a thruster servo loop (drag free control loop) that, acting on spacecraft, forces it to follow the geodesic motion of the TMs. We have an R&D program to develop an optical read-out (ORO) system for the LISA inertial sensor. Our experimental activity includes bench top measurement of the sensor noise performance and the development and testing of prototype optical sensors. The student would assemble, calibrate and characterize the prototype sensors, and conduct (week-long) measurements for noise performance characterization.
    Mentor: Luciano Di Fiore
  • Gravitational wave source investigation:
    • Detection and discrimination of astrophysical sources contributing to the stochastic background of gravitational waves. The research consists in classifying, from an astrophysical perspective, sources that could be targets for LISA (particularly towards the Galactic Center SgrA). The classification would be on the basis of luminosity, astrometric parameters, kinematics, etc.
      Mentor: Salvatore Capozziello, Leopoldo Milano
      Related Project 2009: "A Method and Algorithm for Detecting GW Signals in Strong Noise"
    • Cosmological and astrophysical sources for the stochastic background. The proposed project consists in analyzing the differences between the stochastic background of GWs coming from cosmological sources (e.g. the GW tail in CMBR) and astrophysical sources (e.g. Pop III stars).
      Mentor: Salvatore Capozziello, Leopoldo Milano
    • MATHLAB and MATHEMATICA package implementations for phase-space portraits of orbits corrected with gravitomagnetic effects.
      Mentor: Salvatore Capozziello, Leopoldo Milano
  • Related Project 2009: "Modeling Gravitational Waveforms from Stellar Encounters"

Past IREU Projects
Other Prior Projects