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A 1.82 m^2 ring laser gyroscope for nano-rotational motion sensing

By Jacopo Belfi, Nicolò Beverini, Filippo Bosi, Giorgio Carelli, Angela Di Virgilio, Enrico Maccioni, Antonello Ortolan and Fabio Stefani


We present a fully active-controlled He-Ne ring laser gyroscope, operating in square cavity 1.35 m in side. The apparatus is designed to provide a very low mechanical and thermal drift of the ring cavity geometry and is conceived to be operative in two different orientations of the laser plane, in order to detect rotations around the vertical or the horizontal direction. Since June 2010 the system is active inside the Virgo interferometer central area with the aim of performing high sensitivity measurements of environmental rotational noise. So far, continuous not attempted operation of the gyroscope has been longer than 30 days. The main characteristics of the laser, the active remote-controlled stabilization systems and the data acquisition techniques are presented. An off-line data processing, supported by a simple model of the sensor, is shown to improve the effective long term stability. A rotational sensitivity at the level of ten nanoradiants per squareroot of Hz below 1 Hz, very close to the required specification for the improvement of the Virgo suspension control system, is demonstrated for the configuration where the laser plane is horizontal

Topics: Physics - Instrumentation and Detectors
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s00340-011-4721-y
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