The influence of angular mirror-orientation errors on the length of a Fabry–Perot resonator is analyzed geometrically. Under conditions in which dominant errors are static or vary slowly over time, the analysis permits a simple prediction of the spectrum of short-term cavity length fluctuations resulting from mirror-orientation noise. The resulting model is applicable to the design of mirror control systems for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, which will monitor separations between mirrored surfaces of suspended inertial test bodies as a way to measure astrophysical gravitational radiation. The analysis is verified by measuring the response of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s 40-m interferometer test-bed to the rotation of its mirrors.
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