Aspects of lasers for the illumination of interferometric gravitational wave detectors
Chapter 1 of this thesis contains an introduction to the nature, sources and methods proposed for the detection of gravitational waves. Emphasis is placed on the techniques and noise sources associated with laser interferometric gravitational wave detectors and the resulting implications for the choice of a laser source for this type of detector. This information is mainly derived from the literature. Chapter 2 contains details of experiments to construct an electronic feedback system to stabilise the intensity at both low and high frequencies of a miniature diode-pumped monolithic Nd:YAG ring laser. This work was performed in collaboration with Dr Anne Campbell and Prof. Jim Hough, with advice on directly driving the diode laser from Charles Harb, (Australian National University, Canberra). Also described are investigations into the factors limiting the performance of the stabilisation systems. This was carried out with the added help of Ken Skeldon. Chapter 3 describes experiments to measure the frequency noise of a Nd:YAG ring laser at relaxation oscillation frequencies. Also described are investigations into the noise of a commercial Nd:YAG ring laser. These experiments were carried out in collaboration with Dr. Anne Campbell and Prof. Jim Hough. Chapter 4 describes experiments on the intracavity frequency doubling of a high power flashlamp-pumped Nd:YAG rod laser using different cavity designs. These experiments were carried out mainly by the author with some advice from Prof. Jim Hugh, Dr. Anne Campbell, Dr. Gavin Newton and Dr. Malcolm Gray (Australian National University, Canberra) and with some invaluable experimental help from Dr. J. Hong (formerly of the University of St. Andrews).