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  1. Abstract We report on the development and extensive characterization of co-sputtered tantala–zirconia (Ta 2 O 5 -ZrO 2 ) thin films, with the goal to decrease coating Brownian noise in present and future gravitational-wave detectors. We tested a variety of sputtering processes of different energies and deposition rates, and we considered the effect of different values of cation ratio η = Zr/(Zr + Ta) and of post-deposition heat treatment temperature T a on the optical and mechanical properties of the films. Co-sputtered zirconia proved to be an efficient way to frustrate crystallization in tantala thin films, allowing for a substantialmore »increase of the maximum annealing temperature and hence for a decrease of coating mechanical loss φ c . The lowest average coating loss was observed for an ion-beam sputtered sample with η = 0.485 ± 0.004 annealed at 800 °C, yielding φ ¯ c = 1.8 × 1 0 − 4 rad. All coating samples showed cracks after annealing. Although in principle our measurements are sensitive to such defects, we found no evidence that our results were affected. The issue could be solved, at least for ion-beam sputtered coatings, by decreasing heating and cooling rates down to 7 °C h −1 . While we observed as little optical absorption as in the coatings of current gravitational-wave interferometers (0.5 parts per million), further development will be needed to decrease light scattering and avoid the formation of defects upon annealing.« less
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  5. Abstract Isolated neutron stars that are asymmetric with respect to their spin axis are possible sources of detectable continuous gravitational waves. This paper presents a fully coherent search for such signals from eighteen pulsars in data from LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run (O3). For known pulsars, efficient and sensitive matched-filter searches can be carried out if one assumes the gravitational radiation is phase-locked to the electromagnetic emission. In the search presented here, we relax this assumption and allow both the frequency and the time derivative of the frequency of the gravitational waves to vary in a small range aroundmore »those inferred from electromagnetic observations. We find no evidence for continuous gravitational waves, and set upper limits on the strain amplitude for each target. These limits are more constraining for seven of the targets than the spin-down limit defined by ascribing all rotational energy loss to gravitational radiation. In an additional search, we look in O3 data for long-duration (hours–months) transient gravitational waves in the aftermath of pulsar glitches for six targets with a total of nine glitches. We report two marginal outliers from this search, but find no clear evidence for such emission either. The resulting duration-dependent strain upper limits do not surpass indirect energy constraints for any of these targets.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. Abstract We report the results of the first joint observation of the KAGRA detector with GEO 600. KAGRA is a cryogenic and underground gravitational-wave detector consisting of a laser interferometer with 3 km arms, located in Kamioka, Gifu, Japan. GEO 600 is a British–German laser interferometer with 600 m arms, located near Hannover, Germany. GEO 600 and KAGRA performed a joint observing run from April 7 to 20, 2020. We present the results of the joint analysis of the GEO–KAGRA data for transient gravitational-wave signals, including the coalescence of neutron-star binaries and generic unmodeled transients. We also perform dedicated searches for binary coalescence signals and generic transientsmore »associated with gamma-ray burst events observed during the joint run. No gravitational-wave events were identified. We evaluate the minimum detectable amplitude for various types of transient signals and the spacetime volume for which the network is sensitive to binary neutron-star coalescences. We also place lower limits on the distances to the gamma-ray bursts analyzed based on the non-detection of an associated gravitational-wave signal for several signal models, including binary coalescences. These analyses demonstrate the feasibility and utility of KAGRA as a member of the global gravitational-wave detector network.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  7. Abstract We present a targeted search for continuous gravitational waves (GWs) from 236 pulsars using data from the third observing run of LIGO and Virgo (O3) combined with data from the second observing run (O2). Searches were for emission from the l = m = 2 mass quadrupole mode with a frequency at only twice the pulsar rotation frequency (single harmonic) and the l = 2, m = 1, 2 modes with a frequency of both once and twice the rotation frequency (dual harmonic). No evidence of GWs was found, so we present 95% credible upper limits on the strainmore »amplitudes h 0 for the single-harmonic search along with limits on the pulsars’ mass quadrupole moments Q 22 and ellipticities ε . Of the pulsars studied, 23 have strain amplitudes that are lower than the limits calculated from their electromagnetically measured spin-down rates. These pulsars include the millisecond pulsars J0437−4715 and J0711−6830, which have spin-down ratios of 0.87 and 0.57, respectively. For nine pulsars, their spin-down limits have been surpassed for the first time. For the Crab and Vela pulsars, our limits are factors of ∼100 and ∼20 more constraining than their spin-down limits, respectively. For the dual-harmonic searches, new limits are placed on the strain amplitudes C 21 and C 22 . For 23 pulsars, we also present limits on the emission amplitude assuming dipole radiation as predicted by Brans-Dicke theory.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 25, 2023
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