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  1. Piyawattanametha, Wibool ; Park, Yong-Hwa ; Zappe, Hans (Ed.)
  2. We present a novel optomechanical inertial sensor for low-frequency applications and corresponding acceleration measurements. This sensor has a resonant frequency of 4.715 (1) Hz, a mechanical quality factor of 4.76(3) × 105, a test mass of 2.6 g, and a projected noise floor of approximately 5 × 10−11 ms−2/Hz at 1 Hz. Such performance, together with its small size, low weight, reduced power consumption, and low susceptibility to environmental variables such as magnetic field or drag conditions makes it an attractive technology for future space geodesy missions. In this paper, we present an experimental demonstration of low-frequency ground seismic noise detection by direct comparison with a commercial seismometer, and data analysis algorithms for the identification, characterization, and correction of several noise sources.

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  3. We present a noise estimation and subtraction algorithm capable of increasing the sensitivity of heterodyne laser interferometers by one order of magnitude. The heterodyne interferometer is specially designed for dynamic measurements of a test mass in the application of sub-Hz inertial sensing. A noise floor of 3.31×10−11m/Hz at 100 mHz is achieved after applying our noise subtraction algorithm to a benchtop prototype interferometer that showed a noise level of 2.76×10−10m/Hz at 100 mHz when tested in vacuum at levels of 3×10−5 Torr. Based on the previous results, we investigated noise estimation and subtraction techniques of non-linear optical pathlength noise, laser frequency noise, and temperature fluctuations in heterodyne laser interferometers. For each noise source, we identified its contribution and removed it from the measurement by linear fitting or a spectral analysis algorithm. The noise correction algorithm we present in this article can be generally applied to heterodyne laser interferometers. 
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  4. We present a performance analysis of compact monolithic optomechanical inertial sensors that describes their key fundamental limits and overall acceleration noise floor. Performance simulations for low-frequency gravity-sensitive inertial sensors show attainable acceleration noise floors on the order of1×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>11m/s2Hz. Furthermore, from our performance models, we devised an optimization approach for our sensor designs, sensitivity, and bandwidth trade space. We conducted characterization measurements of these compact mechanical resonators, demonstratingmQ-products at levels of 250 kg, which highlight their exquisite acceleration sensitivity.

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  5. We discuss the design of quantum hybrid inertial sensor that combines an optomechanical inertial sensor with the retroreflector of a cold atom interferometer. This sensor fusion approach provides absolute and high-accuracy measurements with cold atom interferometers, while utilizing the optomechanical inertial sensor at frequencies above the repetition rate of the atom interferometer. This improves the overall measurement bandwidth as well as the robustness and field deployment capabilities of these systems. We evaluate which parameters yield an optimal acceleration sensitivity, from which we anticipate a noise floor at nano-glevels from DC to 1 kHz.

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  6. We have developed an inertially sensitive optomechanical laser by combining a vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser (VECSEL) with a monolithic fused silica resonator. By placing the external cavity mirror of the VECSEL onto the optomechanical resonator test mass, we create a sensor where external accelerations are directly transcribed onto the lasing frequency. We developed a proof-of-principle laboratory prototype and observe test mass oscillations at the resonance frequency of the sensor through the VECSEL lasing frequency,4.18±<#comment/>0.03Hz. In addition, we set up an ancillary heterodyne interferometer to track the motion of the mechanical oscillator’s test mass, observing a resonance of4.194±<#comment/>0.004Hz. The interferometer measurements validate the VECSEL results, confirming the feasibility of using optomechanical lasers for inertial sensing.

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