Date

2013

Department or Program

Astrophysics

Additional Department or Program (if any)

Astrophysics

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Prof. Robbie Berg

Additional Advisor(s)

Prof. Rai Weiss

Abstract

Gravitational waves are distortions in the fabric of space-time caused by the acceleration of masses, such as rotating black hole binaries. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) is attempting to detect cosmic gravitational waves. My experiment involves investigating the feasibility of cooling mirrors to reduce thermal noise and hence increase the sensitivity of the detector for the Third Generation LIGO. I am investigating radiative cooling of silicon mirror substrates to 120K using high-emissivity coatings. I will measure the emissivity and the mechanical Quality factor (Q) of the wafer with and without using high emissivity coating.

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