The LISA Technology Package uses a heterodyne Mach-Zehnder interferometer to monitor the relative motion of the test masses with picometer accuracy. This paper discusses two classes of noise sources that were identified and investigated during the prototype experiments. Most troublesome are electrically induced sidebands on the light, which give rise to nonlinearities in the interferometer output. Even worse, if the differential pathlength between two optical fibres fluctuates, a noise term of milliradian amplitude appears and completely spoils the performance. We discuss the origin and mitigation of this process. Dissimilar beam shapes of the interfering beams produce another type of noise in conjunction with beam jitter and spatially inhomogeneous photodetectors. To study and minimize this effect, we have built a real-time high-resolution phasefront imaging system that will be used for the production of the flight model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)