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Proposed subjects for INFN - NSF/LIGO summer students - 2018


University of Mississipi

Improving the performance of Advanced LIGO with Machine Learning

Mentor: Marco Cavaglià

Location: The University of Mississipi, Oxford, MS (USA) and/or LIGO Livingston Observatory, Livingston, LA (USA)

The third observing run of the advanced LIGO-Virgo network, O3, is planned for fall 2018. After the initial detections of gravitational wave signals from coalescing black holes and binary neutron stars in the first two observing runs, more and more varied detections are anticipated in O3. As the LIGO-Virgo network reaches a stage that may support rates of detections of astrophysical gravitational-wave sources as high as several per week, it will be critical to sustain a fast and accurate assessment of the detectors' data quality.
The LIGO Detector Characterization group is charged with investigating and resolving unwarranted noise disturbances in the aLIGO instruments, as well as improving the quality of the interferometer data. Commissioning and detector characterization work involves many researchers across the different LIGO Scientific Collaboration working groups and institutions.
The INFN exchange student will participate to the detector characterization efforts of the University of Mississippi LIGO group by developing new, machine learning-based algorithms aimed at reducing the instrumental and environmental noise of the LIGO interferometers. He or she will also have the opportunity to visit the LIGO Livingston Laboratory. Depending on the LIGO observing schedule, the student may spend a period of time at the Livingston site and perform work there. This project will provide an essential contribution to the Advanced LIGO project while offering the student the opportunity to participate in a unique scientific endeavor.


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Rochester Institute for Technology

Can higher multipole modes in gravitational waves be mistaken for violation of general relativity?

Mentor: Richard O’Shaughnessy

Location: Rochester Institute for Technology, Rochester, NY (USA)

Tests of general relativity from gravitational wave signals from binary lack holes have hitherto ignored the presence of higher order corrections to the gravitational wave signal.
This project aims at assessing whether neglecting higher multipoles in gravitational wave signals can lead to mis-identification of violations of general relativity.

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California State University Fullerton

On the parametrisation of neutron star equations of state for gravitational wave analysis

Mentor: Jocelyn Read

Location: California State University, Fullerton, CA (USA)

Gravitational wave signals from merging neutron stars carry the imprint of their internal structure in their tidal deformations due to the gravitational field of their companion. Being able to measure the tidal deformability parameter allows, in principle, to determine the equation of state of nuclear matter. However, the amount of physical information about nuclear matter that can be extracted from gravitational waves depends also on the specific parametrisation adopted to relate the neutron star structure to the nuclear equation of state.
This project aims at comparing the information can be extracted from the analysis of past and future binary neutron star merger observed by LIGO and Virgo from several possible equation of state parametrisations.

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University of Florida

Laser interferometer readout at the UF torsion balance

Mentor: Guido Mueller

Location: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (USA)

The UF torsion balance is comprised of four test masses which form a cross with a 25cm baseline. Two test masses are surrounded by a electro-static housings which are used to read out the position of the test masses with capacitive sensors and to apply electro-static actuation on the test mass. A polarization-multiplexed laser interferometer was installed to provide a more sensitive position readout and to calibrate the electro-static readout and actuation system. This interferometer is not reaching the sensitivity we expected due to a various range of problems including changes in the alignment and surface quality of the test masses. The student would work on this interferometer with the goal to understand and, if possible, reduce or eliminate the limiting problems. This work will initially entail the construction of a prototype interferometer to study the performance in an ideal interferometer and then modify the prototype interferometer to mirror more and more the situation at the pendulum. If time allows, the student should then help to update the current interferometer.

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California Institute of Technology  e LIGO observatories

Location: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (USA)
and/or LIGO Livingston Observatory, Livingston, LA (USA); Hanford LIGO Observatory, Hanford, WA (USA)
La lista completa dei progetti proposti per l'anno 2018 è al link https://labcit.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/students/SURF/about/projects.shtml
L'elenco è da considerarsi indicativo; ulteriori temi di ricerca potranno essere concordati sulla base degli interessi espressi dai candidati selezionati e della disponibilità dei tutors.


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