Chenyue was part of the first round of LeviNet funded Short Scientific Missions. Read on to learn more about their Mission to University of Tokyo.
I spent two months in Prof. Masaki Ando’s group working on the characterisation of levitation mirrors, which are manufactured by LMA in Lyon, France. In the first three weeks, with the help of Kentaro Komori, an assistant professor in the group, I designed the optical layout and the mirror mount for the characterisation experiments. Then, I spent the next five weeks setting up optics and taking data.
It was a new experience for me to set up the entire experiment from scratch. We came up with two methods to characterise the radius of the curvature (RoC) of the mirrors.
The first method is to fit the RoC by measuring the beam profile before and after the mirror. The second way is to form a cavity and then measure the frequency differences between the higher-order modes and the T00mode of the cavity. With the data of the frequency differences, we could calculate the RoC of the mirrors.
I have learned to use a beam profiler and how to scan the laser frequency, studied the capability and limitation of the devices and modified the experimental plan accordingly. We got data to fit the RoC of a 1-inch levitation mirror with both methods at the end of this visit. There are more things I haven’t finished due to the time limit, such as measuring the transmissivity and reflectivity of the mirrors, and characterising the 3 mm mirrors. However, further research on the mirrors will be carried out with the collaboration between the two groups.
What have I got from this experience?
I have been working on the project of levitating a milligram-scale mirror for three years through my Master and now with my Ph.D. As the only two groups in the world still carrying on research projects in macroscopic optomechanical levitation of a mirror, this scientific mission allowed us to learn and exchange different ideas. This visit created a connection between the two groups. A collaboration on the study of the levitation mirror is continuing, which, I believe, is beneficial to my research and the projects of both groups.
During the two-month visit I was introduced to the projects conducted in Ando?s group, visited TAMA300, the gravitational wave observatory site, and learned many valuable skills from everyone in the group. Being in Japan for two months, I also had a chance to explore the culture, food, and different lifestyle of another new country. I have traveled to Nagoya, stood 350 m above the land in the Tokyo Skytree, and hiked Fuji mountain Overall, I appreciate being selected in the first round for one of the scientific missions. It enriched my life experience and also helped my research in many aspects.
LeviNet would like to thank Chenyue for her writing and insight into her mission. We would also like to thank Masaki Ando and his team at University of Tokyo for helping to make Chenyue’s mission a success.