Invited Article: CO2 laser production of fused silica fibers for use in interferometric gravitational wave detector mirror suspensions

A. Heptonstall, M.A. Barton, A. Bell, G. Cagnoli, C.A. Cantley, D.R.M. Crooks, A. Cumming, A. Grant, G.D. Hammond, G.M. Harry, J. Hough, R. Jones, D. Kelley, R. Kumar, I.W. Martin, N.A. Robertson, S. Rowan, K.A. Strain, K. Tokmakov, M. Van Veggel

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In 2000 the first mirror suspensions to use a quasi-monolithic final stage were installed at the GEO600 detector site outside Hannover, pioneering the use of fused silica suspension fibers in long baseline interferometric detectors to reduce suspension thermal noise. Since that time, development of the production methods of fused silica fibers has continued. We present here a review of a novel CO2 laser-based fiber pulling machine developed for the production of fused silica suspensions for the next generation of interferometric gravitational wave detectors and for use in experiments requiring low thermal noise suspensions. We discuss tolerances, strengths, and thermal noise performance requirements for the next generation of gravitational wave detectors. Measurements made on fibers produced using this machine show a 0.8% variation in vertical stiffness and 0.05% tolerance on length, with average strengths exceeding 4 GPa, and mechanical dissipation which meets the requirements for Advanced LIGO thermal noise performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number011301
Number of pages9
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2011


  • mirror suspensions
  • fused silica suspension fiber
  • interferometric detector
  • gravitational-waves

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