The sensitivity of present ground-based gravitational wave antennas is too low to detect many events per year. It has, therefore, been planned for years to build advanced detectors allowing actual astrophysical observations and investigations. In such advanced detectors, one major issue is to increase the laser power in order to reduce shot noise. However, this is useless if the thermal noise remains at the current level in the 100 Hz spectral region, where mirrors are the main contributors. Moreover, increasing the laser power gives rise to various spurious thermal effects in the same mirrors. The main goal of the present study is to discuss these issues versus the transverse structure of the readout beam, in order to allow comparison. A number of theoretical studies and experiments have been carried out, regarding thermal noise and thermal effects. We do not discuss experimental problems, but rather focus on some theoretical results in this context about arbitrary order Laguerre–Gauss beams, and other “exotic” beams.
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