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Online Sensitivity Curve Generator

The US LISA Mission Science Office at JPL has developed and made available an online sensitivity curve generator which can be used to explore the average sensitivity characteristics of any equal arm observatory operating in a standard Michelson mode. The tool is designed to allow the user to change certain characteristics of the observatory and study how this affects the sensitivity.

This tool is continually evolving, and expanding its capabilities. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please email Shane L. Larson (shane@srl.caltech.edu).


Example Curves

The following set of curves have been generated using the Online Tool, and are included here to demonstrate the capabilities of this resource.

For reference, the standard LISA observatory parameters are:

Armlength 5 x 10^9 m
Laser Power 1 W
Laser Wavelength 1064 nm
Optics Diameter 0.3 m
Optical Efficiency 0.3
Acceleration Noise 3 x 10^-15 m/(s^2 rtHz)

In each case, data files are given. The images plot the root spectral density of the sensitivity; data files for the dimensionless strain sensitivity are also given, assuming a 1 year integration.

[1] LISA Standard Configurations

Two curves and data sets are provided below exhibiting a "standard" sensitivity for LISA (where "standard" implies the use of the observatory parameters as specified in current Mission Documents -- see literature). The SNR for all curves is set SNR = 1.

Position Noise Budget
The curve shown here assumes the LISA floor is limited by 20 pm/rtHz of pointing and shot noise. This curve is obtained by choosing the "Set Floor by Position Noise" option in the Online Tool.

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = root Spectral Density (per rtHz)

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = strain (dimensionless)

Position Thumb
Laser Shot Noise
The curve shown here assumes the LISA floor is limited by shot noise alone (in the case where other competing noises can be reduced below the shot noise level). This curve is obtained by choosing the "Set Floor by Shot Noise" option in the Online Tool.

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = root Spectral Density (per rtHz)

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = strain (dimensionless)

Shot Thumb

[2] LISA: the Next Generation (LISA:TNG)

This is a workshop observatory, imagined during a special CAJAGWR Seminar in late 2001. The proposed purpose of this mission is to detect a cosmological background of gravitational waves.

The premise was to scale the observatory parameters in a possibly feasible way in order to guarantee detction of a cosmological background at the "standard" level which is predicted by conventional inflationary theory. The proposed observatory parameters were:

Armlength 5 x 10^7
Laser Power 100 W
Laser Wavelength 1064 nm
Optics Diameter 3 m
Optical Efficiency 0.3
Acceleration Noise 3 x 10^-16 m/(s^2 rtHz)

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = root Spectral Density (per rtHz)

Data File
COL1 = f_gw (Hz)
COL2 = strain (dimensionless)

TNG Thumb

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Sensitivity and LISA Literature (A Small Sample)

Mission Documents

  1. LISA Pre-Phase A Report, 2nd Edition (1998)
  2. LISA Final Technical Report (2000)
  3. LISA Sensitivity White Paper (2002)

Basis for Online Tool

  1. Larson, Hiscock and Hellings (PRD, 62, 062001 [2000])
  2. Larson, Hellings and Hiscock (PRD, 66, 062001 [2002])

Time Delay Interferometry

  1. Tinto and Armstrong (PRD 59, 102003 [1999])
  2. Armstrong, Estabrook and Tinto (ApJ, 527, 814 [1999])
  3. Estabrook, Tinto and Armstrong (PRD 62, 042002 [2000])
  4. Tinto,Estabrook and Armstrong (PRD 65, 082003 [2002])

Other Sensitivity Calculations

  1. Schilling (CQG, 14, 1513 [1997])
  2. Cornish and Larson (CQG, 18, 3473 [2001])
  3. Cornish (PRD, 65, 022004 [2002])
  4. Cornish and Rubbo (PRD, 67, 022001 [2003])

White Dwarf Background

  1. Hils and Bender (CQG, 14, 1439 [1997])
  2. Hiscock, Larson, Routzahn and Kulick (ApJ, 540, L5 [2000])
If you know of other sensitivity citations which should be included in this list, please let me know.
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    Footer Map Page Maintained by: Shane L. Larson
Email: shane@srl.caltech.edu
Last Updated: 20 May 2003