Simulation of gravitational radiation produced by the merger of equal mass black holes. Simulations carried out by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Numerical Relativity Group; visualization by Chris Henze at NASA Ames.

Hello, my name is Rudy Nahed and I am the Early Stage Researcher 2 of the GraWIToN Project. Two institutes in France, both partners in GraWIToN, are hosting me: the private company Boostec and the Engineering University of Production LGP INP/ENIT.

I started my PhD a bit late (10 April 2015) and my first trip was to EGO-VIRGO, Italy, to attend the 1st GraWIToN school. On one hand, it was really exciting and outstanding to meet my colleagues and to be introduced to them; on the other hand, I liked so much interacting and learning from the experts of Astrophysical domain and other domains as well (Laser, Optics, etc…).

The subject of my thesis is about studying and developing a material called “Silicon Carbide SiC”. The purpose of this study is to identify and set the suitable requirements of baffles fabricated from this material, for blocking and absorbing stray light in the optical cavity.

This material is of great interest to VIRGO, due to its physical and chemical properties. Therefore, my main work in Italy is going to be the characterization of this material, while in France it is going to be modeling and designing the suitable model that best fits in the interferometer as baffles.

Currently, I am back to VIRGO, for a GraWIToN secondment period. I’m just beginning to work with the simulation programs used to model the optical cavities in Virgo and its components; I have been introduced by Dr. Antonino Chiummo on stray light issues, on the apparatuses I will use for measuring Reflectivity, Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) and Total Integrating Scattering (TIS) of optical elements. I hope that I have some interesting results from different characterizations to share with you in the next newsletter.

Lightweight Silicon Carbide Mirror, Polished side

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