Indian Students Selected for Caltech’s LIGO-SURF 2021

For this year Caltech has selected two Indian Students for the LIGO-SURF program:

1) Anirban Bairagi

Project Title: Beam tracking
Mentors: Tega, Yehonathan, Rana


Interferometric gravitational wave detectors must be precisely aligned to maintain low-noise operation. A misaligned laser beam due to seismic motion causes an unwanted coupling of angular mirror motion noise to the gravitational wave readout. Therefore, the laser beam position must be continuously monitored and corrected. Existing beam monitoring schemes are ridden with systematic errors. In this project, we will develop a real-time machine-learning algorithm for tracking a beam spot position using various image processing techniques.

2) Bhavini Jeloka

Project Title: System Identification and Optimal Control
Mentors: Rana, Hang, Gabriele


LIGO detects gravitational waves by operating a 4 km long arm length dual recycled Michelson interferometer. This requires several hundred control loops to keep the detector in an optimum state. Many such systems are complex as they are Multiple Inputs Multiple Outputs (MIMO) systems with cross-coupled sensors and actuators. Identifying the true system (plant) dynamics is important to develop an optimal control design for such complex systems. In this project, we will develop a method to identify the system automatically and obtain an optimal control module for it.