The ACIGA High Optical Power Test Facility
(HOPTF) consists of an 80m interferometer
facility, as well as workshops, offices, kitchen, seminar room and visitors’
accommodation. Two hundred metres away from this a major education centre,
the Gravity Discovery Centre, provides a café and lecture theatre which
are used for international meetings. The entire facility is linked by a
wireless network. Just to the north is the site of the Geosciences Australia
Magnetic Observatory for monitoring the Earth’s magnetic field.
The main cornerstation laboratory is a huge clean room. Inside the clean
room is an additional ultra-clean room which is used for the very high power
lasers, and ultra-clean tents used to provide the very clean environment
required for assembling vibration isolators and optical equipment. The facility
is entered through air locks, which prevent contamination from the external
environment. The cornerstation laboratory is cooled with a novel, low energy
air conditioning system. It has special vibration isolation floors to support detector
components. At the end of the vacuum pipe arms are two end stations, which
are small scale versions of the corner station, also equipped with entry
air locks and ultra-clean assembly tents. The facility includes an electronics
workshop, a mechanical workshop and another large area which includes guest
work areas and live-in facilities.
Outside the facility, a pump room houses the large vacuum pumps required
for evacuating the detector system. The entire facility is protected by
a video surveillance system and is surrounded by a high capacity sprinkler
system for protection against fires. The photo above shows researchers assembling
a vibration isolator in the HOPTF ultra clean assembly tent. The picture
below is of the HOPTF corner-station clean room and the panel on the right
shows images taken during the various stages of construction.
The image below shows one of the three vibration isolation stages.