Thesis Defense Presented By Alvaro Fernández Galiana: Development Of Precision, Field-Deployable, Opto-Mechanical Instrumentation: Accessibility As A Functional Requirement

Friday September 17, 2021 9:00 am

Title: Development of Precision, Field-Deployable, Opto-Mechanical Instrumentation: Accessibility as a Functional Requirement

Candidate: Alvaro Fernández Galiana


Date: September 17, 2021

Time: 9:00 am to 10:30 am EDT

Format: Hybrid

    Room Number: 5-234

    Zoom link: contact


Most of the devices and instruments that we interact with in our daily life have become accessible to us by (re-)engineering a technology that was once available only to a few research laboratories. Bridging the gap between the state-of-the-art instrumentation of research laboratories, which is usually specific to a narrow application, and the broader needs of a community can only be done if  accessibility is considered as one of the functional requirements. There is not a unique approach to the design for accessibility. The latter can be achieved by re-engineering the system to reduce its cost, size, or complexity, or by expanding the applications of the original system, among others. In this work, the development of several precision instruments designed for accessibility is discussed.

The first part of this thesis describes the design of a compact source of quantum  queezed vacuum states.  queezed vacuum states are electromagnetic vacuum states with sub-Poissionian statistics and can be leveraged to improve the sensitivity of instruments beyond the quantum limit. They constitute the stepping stone for the creation of highly entangled states with high fidelity, an essential resource for continuous-variable quantum information processing. However, the generation and handling of these fragile states is complex and resource-intensive, limiting the potential of the associated technologies. Using novel optical cavity control techniques and a combination of fiber and free space optics, the proposed design reduces the total number and size of the required components, leading to a final system with a reduced footprint. Such a source has the potential to expand the capabilities of quantum information research laboratories by providing them with access to prepared quantum states without the need for a large, complex optical setup.

In this part, we also present the development and implementation of the seismic isolator of the advanced LIGO squeezed source. It is a tabletop, ultra-high vacuum compatible passive vibration isolation platform with active damping control. Its innovative architecture is demonstrated to meet the stringent requirements of  gravitational-wave interferometers,  advancing  the  field’s  suspension technology  to  be  simpler  yet  more  adaptable. Two units of this isolation system have been reliably operating at the LIGO observatories, contributing to an increase in the detection rate of more than 40%.

The second part of the thesis is dedicated to technologies with biomedical applications. The potential of vibrational-spectroscopy based biosensors as a tool for mass population screening is discussed based on their state-of-the-art performance and future perspectives. Moreover, a comprehensive framework for the evaluation of  niversal pathogen detection platforms is developed. The benefits of Fourier-transform Infrared spectroscopy are highlighted and exemplified with a case study on its application to SARS-CoV-2 detection. Finally, this work describes the design and development of a novel, biomimicry-inspired laparoscopic device for improved grasping in myomectomy surgeries.

Thesis Committee:

  • Prof. Nergis Mavalvala (Advisor), Department of Physics
  • Prof. George Barbastathis, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Prof. Matthew Evans, Department of Physics
  • Prof. Vivishek Sudhir, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Best of luck to Alvaro!


Event Contact

Marie Woods