An investigation of eddy-current damping of multi-stage pendulum suspensions for use in interferometric gravitational wave detectors

Plissi, M.V. and Torrie, C.I. and Barton, M. and Robertson, N.A. and Grant, A. and Cantley, C.A. and Strain, K.A. and Willems, P.A. and Romie, J.H. and Skeldon, K.D. and Perreur-Lloyd, M.M. and Jones, R.A. and Hough, J. (2004) An investigation of eddy-current damping of multi-stage pendulum suspensions for use in interferometric gravitational wave detectors. Review of Scientific Instruments, 75 (11). pp. 4518-4522. ISSN 0034-6748

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    Abstract

    In this article we discuss theoretical and experimental investigations of the use of eddy-current damping for multi-stage pendulum suspensions such as those intended for use in Advanced LIGO, the proposed upgrade to LIGO (the US laser interferometric gravitational-wave observatory). The design of these suspensions is based on the triple pendulum suspension design developed for GEO 600, the German/UK interferometric gravitational wave detector, currently being commissioned. In that detector all the low frequency resonant modes of the triple pendulums are damped by control systems using collocated sensing and feedback at the highest mass of each pendulum, so that significant attenuation of noise associated with this so-called local control is achieved at the test masses. To achieve the more stringent noise levels planned for Advanced LIGO, the GEO 600 local control design needs some modification. Here we address one particular approach, namely that of using eddy-current damping as a replacement or supplement to active damping for some or all of the modes of the pendulums. We show that eddy-current damping is indeed a practical alternative to the development of very low noise sensors for active damping of triple pendulums, and may also have application to the heavier quadruple pendulums at a reduced level of damping.