1.3 Overview of the physics of the primary interferometer components

To give order to our review we consider the main physics describing the operation of the basic optical components (mirrors, beam splitters, modulators, etc.) required to construct interferometers. Although all of the relevant physics is generally well known and not new, we take it as a starting point that permits the introduction of notation and conventions. It is also true that the interferometry employed for gravitational-wave detection has a different emphasis than other interferometer applications. As a consequence, descriptions or examples of a number of crucial optical properties for gravitational wave detectors cannot be found in the literature. The purpose of this first version of the review is especially to provide a coherent theoretical framework for describing such effects. With the basics established, it can be seen that the interferometer configurations that have been employed in gravitational-wave detection may be built up and simulated in a relatively straightforward manner.

As mentioned above, we do not address the newer physics associated with operation at or beyond the standard quantum limit. The interested reader can begin to explore this topic from the following references.

These matters are to be included in a future revision of this review.

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