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Astronomical interferometer

About: Astronomical interferometer is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 11487 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 162596 citation(s).

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The interferometers now being developed to detect gravitational waves work by measuring the relative positions of widely separated masses. Two fundamental sources of quantum-mechanical noise determine the sensitivity of such an interferometer: (i) fluctuations in number of output photons (photon-counting error) and (ii) fluctuations in radiation pressure on the masses (radiation-pressure error). Because of the low power of available continuous-wave lasers, the sensitivity of currently planned interferometers will be limited by photon-counting error. This paper presents an analysis of the two types of quantum-mechanical noise, and it proposes a new technique---the "squeezed-state" technique---that allows one to decrease the photon-counting error while increasing the radiation-pressure error, or vice versa. The key requirement of the squeezed-state technique is that the state of the light entering the interferometer's normally unused input port must be not the vacuum, as in a standard interferometer, but rather a "squeezed state"---a state whose uncertainties in the two quadrature phases are unequal. Squeezed states can be generated by a variety of nonlinear optical processes, including degenerate parametric amplification.

2,255 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A theoretical investigation has been undertaken to study diffraction of electromagnetic waves in Fabry-Perot interferometers when they are used as resonators in optical masers. An electronic digital computer was programmed to compute the electromagnetic field across the mirrors of the interferometer where an initially launched wave is reflected back and forth between the mirrors. It was found that after many reflections a state is reached in which the relative field distribution does not vary from transit to transit and the amplitude of the field decays at an exponential rate. This steady-state field distribution is regarded as a normal mode of the interferometer. Many such normal modes are possible depending upon the initial wave distribution. The lowest-order mode, which has the lowest diffraction loss, has a high intensity at the middle of the mirror and rather low intensities at the edges. Therefore, the diffraction loss is much lower than would be predicted for a uniform plane wave. Curves for field distribution and diffraction loss are given for different mirror geometries and different modes. Since each mode has a characteristic loss and phase shift per transit, a uniform plane wave which can be resolved into many modes cannot, properly speaking, be resonated in an interferometer. In the usual optical interferometers, the resolution is too poor to resolve the individual mode resonances and the uniform plane wave distribution may be maintained approximately. However, in an oscillating maser, the lowest-order mode should dominate if the mirror spacing is correct for resonance. A confocal spherical system has also been investigated and the losses are shown to be orders of magnitude less than for plane mirrors.

1,388 citations

Book ChapterDOI
Abstract: Publisher Summary This chapter describes the phase-measurement interferometry techniques. For all techniques, a temporal phase modulation is introduced to perform the measurement. By measuring the interferogram intensity as the phase is shifted, the phase of the wavefront can be determined with the aid of electronics or a computer. Phase modulation in an interferometer can be induced by moving a mirror, tilting a glass plate, moving a grating, rotating a half-wave plate or analyzer, using an acousto-optic or electro-optic modulator, or using a Zeeman laser. Phase-measurement techniques using analytical means to determine phase all have some common denominators. There are different equations for calculating the phase of a wavefront from interference fringe intensity measurements. The precision of a phase-measuring interferometer system can be determined by taking two measurements, subtracting them, and looking at the root-meansquare of the difference wavefront. The chapter discusses the simulation results. The elimination of the errors that reduce the measurement accuracy depends on the type of measurement being performed. Phase-measurement interferometry (PMI) can be applied to any two-beam interferometer, including holographic interferometers. Applications can be divided into: surface figure, surface roughness, and metrology.

1,283 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
26 Aug 1999-Nature
Abstract: Laser-cooling of atoms and atom-trapping are finding increasing application in many areas of science1 One important use of laser-cooled atoms is in atom interferometers2 In these devices, an atom is placed into a superposition of two or more spatially separated atomic states; these states are each described by a quantum-mechanical phase term, which will interfere with one another if they are brought back together at a later time Atom interferometers have been shown to be very precise inertial sensors for acceleration3,4, rotation5 and for the measurement of the fine structure constant6 Here we use an atom interferometer based on a fountain of laser-cooled atoms to measure g, the acceleration of gravity Through detailed investigation and elimination of systematic effects that may affect the accuracy ofthe measurement, we achieve an absolute uncertainty of Δg/g ≈ 3 × 10−9, representing a million-fold increase in absoluteaccuracy compared with previous atom-interferometer experiments7 We also compare our measurement with the value of g obtained at the same laboratory site using a Michelson interferometer gravimeter (a modern equivalent of Galileo's ‘leaning tower’ experiment in Pisa) We show that the macroscopic glass object used in this instrument falls with the same acceleration, to within 7 parts in 109, as a quantum-mechanical caesium atom

733 citations

01 Jan 1986
Abstract: Radio Astronomical Fundamentals.- Electromagnetic Wave Propagation Fundamentals.- Wave Polarization.- Signal Processing and Receivers.- Fundamentals of Antenna Theory.- Filled Aperture Antennas.- Observational Methods.- Interferometers and Aperture Synthesis.- Emission Mechanisms of Continuous Radiation.- Some Examples of Thermal and Nonthermal Radio Sources.- Spectral Line Fundamentals.- Line Radiation of Neutral Hydrogen.- Recombination Lines.- Molecules in Interstellar Space.

715 citations

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No. of papers in the topic in previous years