Unification of thermal and quantum noise in gravitational-wave detectors

Kavli Affiliate: Lee McCuller

| First 5 Authors: Chris Whittle, Lee McCuller, Vivishek Sudhir, Matthew Evans,

| Summary:

Contemporary gravitational-wave detectors are fundamentally limited by
thermal noise — due to dissipation in the mechanical elements of the test mass
— and quantum noise — from the vacuum fluctuations of the optical field used
to probe the test mass position. Two other fundamental noises can in principle
also limit sensitivity: test-mass quantization noise due to the zero-point
fluctuation of its mechanical modes, and thermal excitation of the optical
field. We use the quantum fluctuation-dissipation theorem to unify all four
noises. This unified picture shows precisely when test-mass quantization noise
and optical thermal noise can be ignored.

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