Abstract

We describe the construction and operation of a large ring laser whose beam paths enclose an area of $6.25 \;{{\rm{m}}^2}$. The gyroscopic performance of this large laser interferometer was determined using laser operation at a wavelength of 632.8 nm. The laser cavity Q was inferred to be $1.1 \times {10^{12}}$ via a measured ring-down time of 375 µs, and the measured Sagnac frequency is 198.40 Hz due to Earth’s rotation. The measured experimental sensitivity to rotation achieved is $7.9 \times {10^{- 12}} \;{\rm{rad}}/{\rm s}/\sqrt {{\rm{Hz}}}$ at an averaging interval of 512 s (being limited primarily by ambient building noise). The observation of microseismic activity in the 200 mHz region as well as local earthquakes is discussed.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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