Experimental validation of the high precision interferometric instruments onboard LISA


The proposed thesis subject is focused on the global validation process of the instrument metrological performance. Preliminary concepts exist for the various optical metrology test benches that will be required measure the instrumental characteristics. Obviously, the full constellation cannot be tested in flight conditions on ground. The instrument validation will therefore rely on a ingenious combination of specific measurements performed on the different subsystems, as well as the results obtained with specifically designed lab experiments.

The first goal of the work is therefore to review, define and evaluate, through simulations and experiments, the different optical measurements that shall be performed to determine the intrinsic performances and associated errors that can be reached. Then, the task will focus on the most suitable  combinations of these measurements to fully characterise the LISA instrument prior to flight. This work will involve a deep understanding of the instrument requirements and design.

In relation to this long term objective, the student will also contribute to the design, performance modeling and operations of the so-called ‘Beams Simulator’, which is an optical bench to be developed at the APC to support the validation of the IDS. Once completed, the ‘Beams Simulator’ bench shall be tested and commissioned, before being used on the IDS Engineering Model in 2025. On this topic, the objective of the thesis is to produce a detailed metrological performance model of the IDS test setup, that could be checked against the measurements performed during the commissioning phase.

The student is also expected to define, run and analyse data produced by the LISA On Table Experiment, as required to validate the link between the raw data and the post-processing algorithms. This works shall be included in the general validation strategy of the LISA instrument model.

For all these experimental activities and their interpretation in terms of instrumental performance, the student shall rely on the scientific and technical teams of the LISA group at the APC laboratory. This work will also be carried out in close collaboration with the other French laboratories, the CNES and the international institutes involved in the development of the LISA instrument.


Hubert Halloin






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