The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a joint ESA/NASA mission proposed to observe gravitational waves. One important noise source in the LISA phase measurement will be on-board reference oscillators. I am working on an inter-spacecraft clock tone transfer chain which will be necessary to remove this non-negligible phase noise in post processing.
Another key aspect is the determination of the absolute distance between LISA spacecraft to time shift the individual signals correctly. For this purpose a GPS like ranging is implemented by encoding a pseudo random noise code on the laser link.
I am testing the phase stability of primary components of the clock tone transfer chain (such as electro-optic modulators, frequency dividers, cables and optical fibers) to find space-qualified hardware suitable for LISA. Additionally I am about to build a LISA like transfer chain simulator with actual clock tone modulation and ranging.
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
phone: +49-511-762 17184