Abstract

In the long-baseline laser interferometers for measuring gravitational waves that are now under construction, understanding the dynamical response to small distortions such as angular alignment fluctuations presents a unique challenge. These interferometers comprise multiple coupled optical resonators with light storage times approaching 100 m. We present a basic formalism to calculate the frequency dependence of periodic variations in angular alignment and longitudinal displacement of the resonator mirrors. The electromagnetic field is decomposed into a superposition of higher-order spatial modes, Fourier frequency components, and polarization states. Alignment fluctuations and length variations of free-space propagation are represented by matrix operators that act on the multicomponent state vectors of the field.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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