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Fundamental physics with laser interferometry

Vermeulen, Sander 2023. Fundamental physics with laser interferometry. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis discusses the use of laser interferometers to detect quantum gravity phenomena, dark matter, and gravitational waves. In the first chapter, the laser interferometry experiment known as QUEST is discussed, which consists of twin co-located table-top interferometers. In the second chapter, the detection of quantum space-time fluctuations with laser interferometers is treated. Contemporary literature on holographic quantum space- time fluctuations is reviewed. A basic model for computing interferometric signals from quantum space-time fluctuations is formulated, and prospects of detecting a signal with QUEST are analysed. In the third chapter, we demonstrate the use of laser interferometry to search for scalar field dark matter. Analysis of the data from the GEO600 gravitational-wave detector and the Fermilab Holometer for the presence of dark matter signals was performed; no signals were detected, and constraints are placed on dark matter coupling strengths that exceed previous constraints by orders of magnitude. A polarimetric experiment to search for scalar and pseudoscalar dark matter is proposed, and we discuss prospective dark matter searches with QUEST. In the fourth chapter, we present a new approach for detecting gravitational waves using existing and future detectors that exploits the mixing, or heterodyning, of gravitational waves. We show that this method could allow gravitational-wave detectors such as LISA to detect low-frequency gravitational waves outside of their designed bandwidth using the same infrastructure. We also comment on the prospects of detecting high-frequency (MHz) gravitational waves with QUEST.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fundamental Physics Laser Interferometry Quantum Gravity Spacetime Dark Matter Gravitational Waves QUEST
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 August 2023
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2023 14:08

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