Abstract

We have tested a new kind of Fabry–Perot long-baseline optical resonator proposed to reduce the thermal noise sensitivity of gravitational wave interferometric detectors—the “mesa beam” cavity—whose flat top beam shape is achieved by means of an aspherical end mirror. We present the fundamental mode intensity pattern for this cavity and its distortion due to surface imperfections and tilt misalignments, and contrast the higher order mode patterns to the Gauss–Laguerre modes of a spherical mirror cavity. We discuss the effects of mirror tilts on cavity alignment and locking and present measurements of the mesa beam tilt sensitivity.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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