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LIGO Hanford Observatory News

At Last, Glass in the Vacuum!

At Last, Glass in the Vacuum!

- Contributed by Gary Sanders

Last month we left you with the image of a beautiful mirror deftly suspended in a wire, ready to be set in place in the LIGO two-kilometer interferometer vacuum system. It has now been installed, and so has another large optic. As the photographs below reveal, there is high drama in this work.

Figure 1. Figure 2.

In Figure 1 at left, the trial installation--later repeated finally--of the Mode Matching Telescope 3 mirror is a gripping sight. Clad in clean room "bunny suits," our crew sweating in white (the author, Doug Cook, and Dennis Coyne) is intent on sliding the suspension and optic into place on the gleaming optics table in the HAM7 (Horizontal Access Module) chamber. The cylinders visible near the assembly are counterweights placed to control the loading on the spring-borne optics table as the payload is increased.

Next, in Figure 2, is MIT's own David Shoemaker, highlighted elsewhere in this issue. David is carefully adjusting an orientation magnet on the recycling mirror, newly placed in HAM9. Another milestone in glass!

Figure 3. In a somewhat different vein, Figure 3 at right shows the large seismic isolation downtube being placed through the roof of the clean room into BSC8 (Beam Splitter Chamber). This chamber is the first of its type to receive the isolation system. Next month, after installation of the springs and leg elements, this chamber will become the home of the folding mirror and input test mass mirror of one of the two-kilometer arms. Among the five stalwart workers seen assisting inside this clean room are Robert Scholfield of the University of Oregon and Efim Kazanov of the institute in Nizhny Novgorod, both members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, helping that day during a few hours stolen from their own research.

Look for more reports soon to come...