"Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled"

This sentence has been said by the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Actually, it is supposed to be so but I couldn't find any proper reference about that... Anyway, whoever has said that, it speaks to me... and not only to me: this is the philosophy of our European project! Ease the interactions between people from everywhere to share knowledge and different points of view in order to go further together.
Why do I speak about that? Because since the beginning of the 2015 I had the opportunity to enjoy this philosophy and to travel a lot.

At the beginning of February I went to my first international conference in...Tokyo!!! The 3rd ELiTES meeting which is another Marie Curie Action consisting in exchanges between European and Japanese researchers. I made a presentation about my PhD, obviously after 3 months I did not have yet any good results to present. It was more about presenting what are the goals of my thesis and more generally to present the GraWIToN project. There I had the opportunity to listen to the presentation and to discuss with others people involved in GW detection.

Two weeks after having come back to EGO I was already gone away, to Germany this time, and for one full month! I went to Hannover at the Laser Zentrum of Hannover (LZH), which is another partner of the GraWIToN project. I was working with Omar, the ESR working there, and his colleagues. They were very nice with me but I have to admit that at the beginning I was wondering what was I doing there. I did know what I wanted to know: how are they doing to inject high power into optical fibers, what are the difficulties that they encountered, what are the solutions they found... However, I did not know how to acquire this knowledge. On the one hand one month was a bit too short to start a whole project on high power injection, on the other hand it was too long to just wandering around asking people questions and watch them doing their experiments.
We finally found a way together: I started to ask questions, to talk with people about what I wanted to do and know, reading papers that they were advising me, I was also working with Omar on his experiments. With all that we figure out some experiments that I could carry out: testing our components/optical fibers with one of the single frequency medium power (10W) that they have at LZH but we don't at EGO. Unfortunately, the components arrived only few days before the day I was leaving... I had the time to do some experiments but I had so many others in mind that I could not have done... Next time! But anyways I learned a lot and it was definitely a good experience!

And when I'm not traveling the world? The world is traveling to me! Two weeks after my stay in Germany the first GraWIToN school began! All the others ESR, but also some others PhD from many different places, came to EGO for a three weeks summer school. It was a great moment of our formation! We learnt to know each other, to know what each of us is working on.
It was also very nice to meet all these researchers involved in GW detection who were giving us those good quality lectures in all these various domains. I would be lying if I said that I understood everything that we have been taught and that I am now an expert in all the fields of GW detection. Going back to school for 8 hours a day was sometimes a bit difficult. However, I think that becoming experts in all the fields was not the goal of this school, it was more about allowing us to get the basis in all the fields so we can have a good overview of what we are all working for.
At that point you may wonder about the practical work that I am supposed to do, isn't it? It is not in traveling all the time that the fibered Electro Optic Modulator will be finished by the end of the year.... True! I was thinking the same. But it's better to acquire knowledge before and then work using this knowledge than the inverse, no!?
Actually between all these activities I had some time to prepare the future developments of my thesis: working on the design of the mechanics and electronics parts of the modulator with the dedicated departments of EGO. However since Advance Virgo is supposed to work by the end of the year, they have lots of works to do and not too much time for me. It will not go as fast as I was expected.
Since the end of the school and for the next coming months, I don't have many sides activities so I can concentrate on my main work and have a continuity in what I am doing. Currently I am trying to get a good coupling between the two collimators which will be on both sides of the modulator as you can on the right side of the picture. I try to improve it little by little by testing new settings. We have already reach 90% of coupling which is nice but not enough! We would like to have at least 95%.

However these 5 last percents are much more difficult to gain than the 90 previous ones! Actually, I am wondering if 90% is not the maximum that can be reach with our components and I have started to look for other solutions. But while writing this newsletter I am trying a new way to improve it, and I am quite confident with it. I will let you know next time if it will have worked. I am also preparing the transfer of the experiment on the high power bench. It is quite challenging to deal with such high densities of power. I wish I will not start the next newsletter saying that I have burnt everything!

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