Anomalous optical surface absorption in nominally pure silicon samples at 1550 nm

Bell, A. S. , Steinlechner, J., Martin, I. W. , Craig, K., Cunningham, W. , Rowan, S. , Hough, J. , Schnabel, R. and Khalaidovski, A. (2017) Anomalous optical surface absorption in nominally pure silicon samples at 1550 nm. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 34(20), 205013. (doi: 10.1088/1361-6382/aa8aac)

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The announcement of the direct detection of Gravitational Waves (GW) by the LIGO and Virgo collaboration in February 2016 has removed any uncertainty around the possibility of GW astronomy. It has demonstrated that future detectors with sensitivities ten times greater than the Advanced LIGO detectors would see thousands of events per year. Many proposals for such future interferometric GW detectors assume the use of silicon test masses. Silicon has low mechanical loss at low temperatures, which leads to low displacement noise for a suspended interferometer mirror. In addition to the low mechanical loss, it is a requirement that the test masses have a low optical loss. Measurements at 1550 nm have indicated that material with a low enough bulk absorption is available; however there have been suggestions that this low absorption material has a surface absorption of > 100 ppm which could preclude its use in future cryogenic detectors. We show in this paper that this surface loss is not intrinsic but is likely to be a result of particular polishing techniques and can be removed or avoided by the correct polishing procedure. This is an important step towards high gravitational wave detection rates in silicon based instruments.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bell, Dr Angus and Steinlechner, Dr Jessica and Rowan, Professor Sheila and Martin, Dr Iain and Cunningham, Dr Liam and Hough, Professor James
Authors: Bell, A. S., Steinlechner, J., Martin, I. W., Craig, K., Cunningham, W., Rowan, S., Hough, J., Schnabel, R., and Khalaidovski, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Centre:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy > Institute for Gravitational Research
Journal Name:Classical and Quantum Gravity
Publisher:Institute of Physics
ISSN (Online):1361-6382
Published Online:06 September 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd
First Published:First published in Classical and Quantum Gravity 34(20):205013
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
591721Optical characterisation of silicon and mirror materials for gravitational astronomy.Iain MartinThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)RG110331S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
624341Investigations in Gravitational Radiation / Particle Astrophysics Capital equipmentSheila RowanScience & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/L000946/1S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
713721Investigations in gravitational radiationSheila RowanScience & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/N005422/1S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY