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



LAL (Laboratoire de l'Accelerateur Lineaire), Orsay
  • Control of coupled cavities in CALVA:
    Advanced Virgo will face several new challenges concerning the control (either longitudinal or angular) of its optical cavities. In particular, the lock acquisition appears to be a crucial issue. The CALVA purpose is to investigate a new lock acquisition scheme involving auxiliary lasers. Briefly, the main idea is to cool down the longest cavity with an auxiliary laser which sees a lower finesse for the cavity. Once this length is under control, it will be brought in a deterministic way to its working point where the linear locking of the main laser can be activated. The test of the scheme is ongoing on a single cavity and in few months, it will be tested on two coupled cavities. The goal of the project is to control the two coupled cavities using this technique. In practice, the work will have a strong experimental component which includes optics and data treatment.
    Mentor: Nicolas Leroy
    Related Project 2012: "Characterization and Control of Coupled 5m and 50m Optical Cavities in CALVA"
  • Advanced Virgo detector characterization and noise studies:
    The Virgo gravitational-wave detector is currently being upgraded into a more sensitive detector: Advanced Virgo. The Advanced Virgo detector is expected to collect science data in 2017, jointly with the LIGO detectors. Many gravitational-wave signals are of short duration and many of them are poorly-modeled. A critical aspect for gravitational-wave searches is the data quality which is polluted by a great amount of transient detector noise events, called glitches, which mimic genuine signals.

    The LAL group has always been involved in the study of detector's glitches. This work has been useful at many levels. On one hand, when a noise source is identified, it can be mitigated at the detector level and the sensitivity of the instrument is improved. On the other hand, the knowledge of a noise propagation mechanism can be used to create veto procedures to be applied at the search level to discard fake gravitational-wave events.

    The Advanced Virgo noise characterization work is now at full speed. The goal of the project is to contribute to this effort. More specifically, the student is invited to participate to one (or more) of the following tasks:
    - Run noise investigation tools and study noise sources.
    - Improve and develop monitoring tools to characterize noise in "real-time".
    - Develop new veto procedures to improve the sensitivity to gravitational waves.
    Mentor: Florent Robinet
    Related Project 2014: "Characterization of the Omicron Trigger Generator and Transient Analysis of aLIGO Data"
    Related Project 2014: "Data quality vetoes and their effect on searches for gravitational waves from compact binary systems"

Past Projects: Laboratoire de l'Accelerateur Lineaire
  • Enhancing the sensitivity of gravitational-wave searches with integrated data quality monitoring:
    The Virgo and LIGO detectors aim at detecting gravitational wave (GW) signals produced by astrophysical sources. The burst group, in which the LAL group is involved, is looking for poorly-modeled and short-duration signals. To achieve this, they have built search pipelines which are sensitive as well as robust against a large variety of detector glitches. The main obstacle to a GW burst detection is the data quality which is polluted by a great amount of detector glitch noise which mimics genuine burst signals. The LAL group is currently developing new tools to understand and characterize the detector's glitch noise with a low latency. The student would participate in work to
    1/ characterize the new algorithm improvement with respect to former methods.
    2/ integrate this newly acquired information directly in burst search pipelines.
    3/ integrate these developments into an online-based analysis architecture.
    4/ contribute to the development of new improvement ideas.
    Mentor: Florent Robinet
    Related Project 2014: "Characterization of the Omicron Trigger Generator and Transient Analysis of aLIGO Data"
    Related Project 2014: "Data quality vetoes and their effect on searches for gravitational waves from compact binary systems"
  • Search for signals emitted by isolated neutron stars:
    The group is currently conducting an all-sky search for neutron star ringdowns (f-modes). It is a matched-fliter search with a bank of damped sine as templates (frequency range : 1.5-4.0 kHz and 900 < Q < 1800). We have processed the data from the S5/VSR1 run. The S6/VSR2-3 data set remains to be analysed: background estimation, efficiency estimation (with known signal injections in the data), tuning of the search. The work will include, as preparation, participation to the review (review by pairs!) of what has been already done, and then initiation of the new analysis.
    Mentor: Patrice Hello
    Related Project 2012: "Search for signals emitted by isolated neutron stars"


Past IREU Projects
Other Prior Projects