Amorphous silicon with extremely low absorption: beating thermal noise in gravitational astronomy

Ross Birney, J. Steinlechner, Z. Tornasi, Sean Macfoy, David Vine, A.S. Bell, Desmond Gibson, Jim Hough, Sheila Rowan, P. Sortais, S. Sproules, S. Tait, Iain W. Martin, Stuart Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Amorphous silicon has ideal properties for many applications in fundamental research and industry. However, the optical absorption is often unacceptably high, particularly for gravitational wave detection. We report a novel ion beam deposition method for fabricating amorphous silicon with unprecedentedly low unpaired electron spin density and optical absorption; the spin-limit on absorption being surpassed for the first time. At low unpaired electron density, the absorption is no longer correlated with electron spins, but with the electronic mobility gap. Compared to standard ion beam deposition, the absorption at 1550,nm is lower by a factor of ≈100. This breakthrough shows that amorphous silicon could be exploited as an extreme performance optical coating in near-infra-red applications and it represents an important proof-of-concept for future gravitational wave detectors.
LanguageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 9 Oct 2018

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thermal noise
astronomy
amorphous silicon
electron spin
gravitational waves
optical absorption
ion beams
optical coatings
industries
detectors
electronics

Cite this

Birney, Ross ; Steinlechner, J. ; Tornasi, Z. ; Macfoy, Sean ; Vine, David ; Bell, A.S. ; Gibson, Desmond ; Hough, Jim ; Rowan, Sheila ; Sortais, P. ; Sproules, S. ; Tait, S. ; Martin, Iain W. ; Reid, Stuart . / Amorphous silicon with extremely low absorption : beating thermal noise in gravitational astronomy. In: Physical Review Letters. 2018
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abstract = "Amorphous silicon has ideal properties for many applications in fundamental research and industry. However, the optical absorption is often unacceptably high, particularly for gravitational wave detection. We report a novel ion beam deposition method for fabricating amorphous silicon with unprecedentedly low unpaired electron spin density and optical absorption; the spin-limit on absorption being surpassed for the first time. At low unpaired electron density, the absorption is no longer correlated with electron spins, but with the electronic mobility gap. Compared to standard ion beam deposition, the absorption at 1550,nm is lower by a factor of ≈100. This breakthrough shows that amorphous silicon could be exploited as an extreme performance optical coating in near-infra-red applications and it represents an important proof-of-concept for future gravitational wave detectors.",
author = "Ross Birney and J. Steinlechner and Z. Tornasi and Sean Macfoy and David Vine and A.S. Bell and Desmond Gibson and Jim Hough and Sheila Rowan and P. Sortais and S. Sproules and S. Tait and Martin, {Iain W.} and Stuart Reid",
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Birney, R, Steinlechner, J, Tornasi, Z, Macfoy, S, Vine, D, Bell, AS, Gibson, D, Hough, J, Rowan, S, Sortais, P, Sproules, S, Tait, S, Martin, IW & Reid, S 2018, 'Amorphous silicon with extremely low absorption: beating thermal noise in gravitational astronomy' Physical Review Letters.

Amorphous silicon with extremely low absorption : beating thermal noise in gravitational astronomy. / Birney, Ross; Steinlechner, J.; Tornasi, Z.; Macfoy, Sean; Vine, David; Bell, A.S.; Gibson, Desmond; Hough, Jim; Rowan, Sheila; Sortais, P.; Sproules, S.; Tait, S.; Martin, Iain W.; Reid, Stuart .

In: Physical Review Letters, 09.10.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Physical Review Letters

AU - Birney,Ross

AU - Steinlechner,J.

AU - Tornasi,Z.

AU - Macfoy,Sean

AU - Vine,David

AU - Bell,A.S.

AU - Gibson,Desmond

AU - Hough,Jim

AU - Rowan,Sheila

AU - Sortais,P.

AU - Sproules,S.

AU - Tait,S.

AU - Martin,Iain W.

AU - Reid,Stuart

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N2 - Amorphous silicon has ideal properties for many applications in fundamental research and industry. However, the optical absorption is often unacceptably high, particularly for gravitational wave detection. We report a novel ion beam deposition method for fabricating amorphous silicon with unprecedentedly low unpaired electron spin density and optical absorption; the spin-limit on absorption being surpassed for the first time. At low unpaired electron density, the absorption is no longer correlated with electron spins, but with the electronic mobility gap. Compared to standard ion beam deposition, the absorption at 1550,nm is lower by a factor of ≈100. This breakthrough shows that amorphous silicon could be exploited as an extreme performance optical coating in near-infra-red applications and it represents an important proof-of-concept for future gravitational wave detectors.

AB - Amorphous silicon has ideal properties for many applications in fundamental research and industry. However, the optical absorption is often unacceptably high, particularly for gravitational wave detection. We report a novel ion beam deposition method for fabricating amorphous silicon with unprecedentedly low unpaired electron spin density and optical absorption; the spin-limit on absorption being surpassed for the first time. At low unpaired electron density, the absorption is no longer correlated with electron spins, but with the electronic mobility gap. Compared to standard ion beam deposition, the absorption at 1550,nm is lower by a factor of ≈100. This breakthrough shows that amorphous silicon could be exploited as an extreme performance optical coating in near-infra-red applications and it represents an important proof-of-concept for future gravitational wave detectors.

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