Piezoelectrically tunable optical cavities for the gravitational wave detector LISA
The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a proposed space-based gravitational wave detector that aims to detect gravitational waves in the low frequency range from 0.1 mHz to 1 Hz, which is not accessible by ground-based detectors. It consists of three satellites whose distance is monitored by laser interferometry. The high frequency stability of the lasers required for this purpose is to be achieved with a three level noise reduction scheme. This includes a pre-stabilization stage that
... lization stage that has to feature not only high stability but also tunability. One approach for such a tunable pre-stabilization is stabilizing a laser to an optical cavity with incorporated piezoelectric actuator. While this is not a new concept per se, it has never been realized with the required stability until now. Within this thesis, different types of piezo-tunable cavities have been built and thoroughly analyzed. It could be shown that the cavities fulfill all requirements for a tunable laser pre-stabilization for LISA. Furthermore, the work presented here gives a new insight into the potential of piezo-tunable cavities. Their performance is only one order of magnitude below that of the best non-tunable cavities of the same length and the measured noise can not be attributed to the integration of the piezo actuators. So, in principal, an even better performance should be achievable with piezo-tunable cavities. Indeed, theoretical considerations performed within this thesis reveal that the intrinsic stability of piezo-tunable cavities is only slightly inferior to that of rigid cavities. Beyond an application in LISA, highly stable piezo-tunable cavities are also valuable devices for numerous other applications. They can be used in cavity enhanced spectroscopy, as transfer cavities or as optical local oscillators in atomic and molecular spectroscopy.