Scattering in Sapphire Test Masses for Gravitational Wave Detectors

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    Crystalline sapphire is proposed as a test mass material for advanced and cryogenicgravitational wave detectors. While having many advantageous properties, its optical propertiesare not well understood. Here we present observations of the angular dependence of theamplitude of optical scattering in single crystal sapphire samples. We show that the scattering isa strong function of the incident light polarization relative the to crystal axis. Although the dataare suggestive of dipole radiation associated with the polarizability of scattering centres inanisotropic crystals, we found that the scattering matrix is neither diagonal nor symmetric.Results show that for test masses with the incident beam along the a-axis of the crystal it isadvantageous to align the incident light polarization perpendicular to the crystal optical axis (the c-axis) to minimize the total scattering.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)Article number 125205, 9pp
    JournalJournal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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