A The Interferometer Simulation Finesse

Throughout this document we have provided a number of text files that can be used as input files for the interferometer simulation Finesse [1922]. Finesse is a numerical simulation written in the C language; it is available free of charge for Linux, Windows and Macintosh computers and can be obtained online: External Linkhttp://www.gwoptics.org/finesse/.

Finesse provides a fast and versatile tool that has proven to be very useful during the design and commissioning of interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. However, the program has been designed to allow the analysis of arbitrary, user-defined optical setups. In addition, it is easy to install and use. Therefore Finesse is well suited to study basic optical properties, such as, the power enhancement in a resonating cavity and modulation-demodulation methods.

We encourage the reader to obtain Finesse and to learn its basic usage by running the included example files (and by making use of its extensive manual). The Finesse input files provided in this article are in most cases very simple and illustrate single concepts in interferometry. We believe that even a Finesse novice should be able to use them as starting points to play and explore freely, for example by changing parameters, or by adding further optical components. This type of ‘numerical experimentation’ can provide insights similar to real experiments, supplementing the understanding through a mathematical analysis with experience and intuitions.

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