Time-Delay Interferometry

Massimo Tinto
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A.
LIGO Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125, U.S.A.

External Linkhttp://www.srl.caltech.edu/~mtinto/Massimo.html

Sanjeev V. Dhurandhar
Ganeshkhind, Pune 411 007, India


Equal-arm interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation allow phase measurements many orders of magnitude below the intrinsic phase stability of the laser injecting light into their arms. This is because the noise in the laser light is common to both arms, experiencing exactly the same delay, and thus cancels when it is differenced at the photo detector. In this situation, much lower level secondary noises then set the overall performance. If, however, the two arms have different lengths (as will necessarily be the case with space-borne interferometers), the laser noise experiences different delays in the two arms and will hence not directly cancel at the detector. In order to solve this problem, a technique involving heterodyne interferometry with unequal arm lengths and independent phase-difference readouts has been proposed. It relies on properly time-shifting and linearly combining independent Doppler measurements, and for this reason it has been called Time-Delay Interferometry (TDI). This article provides an overview of the theory and mathematical foundations of TDI as it will be implemented by the forthcoming space-based interferometers such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission. We have purposely left out from this first version of our “Living Review” article on TDI all the results of more practical and experimental nature, as well as all the aspects of TDI that the data analysts will need to account for when analyzing the LISA TDI data combinations. Our forthcoming “second edition” of this review paper will include these topics.

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