Over the last few decades, the quest to build detectors sensitive enough to measure gravitational waves from astrophysical sources spurred development in quantum optics, and sparked research in macroscopic quantum measurement. Advanced detectors are designed to improve the current 10-19 m/√Hz displacement noise sensitivity by an order of magnitude. In terms of gravitational wave strain, Advanced LIGO will approach 10-24/√Hz. This incredible value is equivalent to measuring the distance between the Sun and Neptune with subatomic precision.
As the researchers in this field look to the future, it is clear that another technological breakthrough will be necessary to continue to improve detector sensitivity, making possible the regular detection the gravitational waves emitted by some of the universe’s most elusive occupants. The experiment described in this JOSA-A paper is at the leading edge of a new approach being explored in labs around the world; employing optical systems designed to resonate multiple wavelengths of light which offer previously underutilized handles on precision measurement.
In this work the authors demonstrate application of multiple wavelength lasers to explore the properties of the cavity for one wavelength, while controlling the cavity with the other. The most immediate application of this technique, and the target of this paper, is to allow for swift and reliable control of complex resonant optical interferometers, the lack of which has proved a stumbling block for previous generations of gravitational wave detectors. Their detailed analysis of the experimental limits of this technique not only satisfies that primary goal, it also paves the way for applying multi-color metrology to future gravitational wave detectors, as well as a broad array of challenges in precision measurement.
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