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  1. Future gravitational wave detectors (GWDs) require low noise, single frequency, continuous wave lasers with excellent beam quality and powers in excess of 500 W. Low noise laser amplifiers with high spatial purity have been demonstrated up to 300 W. For higher powers, coherent beam combination can overcome scaling limitations. In this Letter we introduce a new, to the best of our knowledge, combination scheme that uses a bow-tie resonator to combine three laser beams with simultaneous spatial filtering performance.

     
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  2. Metrology experiments can be limited by the noise produced by the laser involved via small fluctuations in the laser’s power or frequency. Typically, active power stabilization schemes consisting of an in-loop sensor and a feedback control loop are employed. Those schemes are fundamentally limited by shot noise coupling at the in-loop sensor. In this Letter, we propose to use the optical spring effect to passively stabilize the classical power fluctuations of a laser beam. In a proof of principle experiment, we show that the relative power noise of the laser is stabilized from approximately 2 × 10−5Hz−1/2to a minimum value of 1.6 × 10−7Hz−1/2, corresponding to the power noise reduction by a factor of 125. The bandwidth at which stabilization occurs ranges from 400 Hz to 100 kHz. The work reported in this Letter further paves the way for high power laser stability techniques which could be implemented in optomechanical experiments and in gravitational wave detectors.

     
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  3. This Letter reports the experimental realization of a novel, to the best of our knowledge, active power stabilization scheme in which laser power fluctuations are sensed via the radiation pressure driven motion they induce on a movable mirror. The mirror position and its fluctuations were determined by means of a weak auxiliary laser beam and a Michelson interferometer, which formed the in-loop sensor of the power stabilization feedback control system. This sensing technique exploits a nondemolition measurement, which can result in higher sensitivity for power fluctuations than direct, and hence destructive, detection. Here we used this new scheme in a proof-of-concept experiment to demonstrate power stabilization in the frequency range from 1 Hz to 10 kHz, limited at low frequencies by the thermal noise of the movable mirror at room temperature.

     
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  4. null (Ed.)
    The advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors need high power laser sources with excellent beam quality and low-noise behavior. We present a pre-stabilized laser system with 70 W of output power that was used in the third observing run of the advanced LIGO detectors. Furthermore, the prototype of a 140 W pre-stabilized laser system for future use in the LIGO observatories is described and characterized. 
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  5. Small, highly absorbing points are randomly present on the surfaces of the main interferometer optics in Advanced LIGO. The resulting nanometer scale thermo-elastic deformations and substrate lenses from these micron-scale absorbers significantly reduce the sensitivity of the interferometer directly though a reduction in the power-recycling gain and indirect interactions with the feedback control system. We review the expected surface deformation from point absorbers and provide a pedagogical description of the impact on power buildup in second generation gravitational wave detectors (dual-recycled Fabry–Perot Michelson interferometers). This analysis predicts that the power-dependent reduction in interferometer performance will significantly degrade maximum stored power by up to 50% and, hence, limit GW sensitivity, but it suggests system wide corrections that can be implemented in current and future GW detectors. This is particularly pressing given that future GW detectors call for an order of magnitude more stored power than currently used in Advanced LIGO in Observing Run 3. We briefly review strategies to mitigate the effects of point absorbers in current and future GW wave detectors to maximize the success of these enterprises.

     
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