Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Optical sensor design for advanced drag -free satellites
by Allen, Graham Scott, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009, 162; 3364493
Abstract (Summary)

The detection of gravitational waves in space uses the proof-mass of a drag-free satellite as an inertial reference. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission requires a drag-free proof-mass with residual acceleration noise less than 3×10-15m·s-1/[special characters omitted] and position sensing of 4×10-11 m/[special characters omitted] in a frequency band from 1 mHz to 1 Hz.

The Modular Gravitational Reference Sensor (MGRS) uses a single, optically sensed, spinning sphere as a drag-free reference. By eliminating the need for control forces and torques, we estimate the MGRS residual acceleration noise to be less than 9×10-16 m·s-2/[special characters omitted], limited by direct disturbances to the proof-mass. We have developed a numeric simulation which demonstrates mass center position determination to better than 3 pm/[special characters omitted] limited by the performance of the individual optical sensors.

The Littrow grating cavity sensor is an experimental demonstration of a compact optical sensor designed to have a noise floor below 3 pm/[special characters omitted]. Using a Fabry-Perot cavity formed between a Littrow mounted diffraction grating and a reference surface, we have demonstrated a displacement noise of 10 pm/[special characters omitted] above 1 Hz. The sensor performance was limited by the laser frequency stability and could be reduced to below 1 pm/[special characters omitted] with a stabilized laser source.

This thesis establishes the foundations for the MGRS by investigating noise sources of the MGRS, data analysis techniques required to determine the mass center motion of a spinning sphere, and finally, the experimental demonstration of an optical sensor with displacement noise less than 10 pm/[special characters omitted].

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Byer, Robert L.
School: Stanford University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Astronomy, Optics
Keywords: Acceleration noise, Drag-free satellites, Gravitational waves
Publication Number: 3364493
ISBN: 9781109242799
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