Transient acceleration events in LISA Pathfinder data: Properties and possible physical origin





Citation of Original Publication

M. Armano, H. Audley, J. Baird, P. Binetruy, M. Born, D. Bortoluzzi, et al. “Transient Acceleration Events in LISA Pathfinder Data: Properties and Possible Physical Origin.” Physical Review D 106, no. 6 (September 12, 2022): 062001.


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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We present an in depth analysis of the transient events, or glitches, detected at a rate of about one per day in the differential acceleration data of LISA Pathfinder. We show that these glitches fall in two rather distinct categories: fast transients in the interferometric motion readout on one side, and true force transient events on the other. The former are fast and rare in ordinary conditions. The second may last from seconds to hours and constitute the majority of the glitches. We present an analysis of the physical and statistical properties of both categories, including a cross-analysis with other time series like magnetic fields, temperature, and other dynamical variables. Based on these analyses we discuss the possible sources of the force glitches and identify the most likely, among which the outgassing environment surrounding the test-masses stands out. We discuss the impact of these findings on the LISA design and operation, and some risk mitigation measures, including experimental studies that may be conducted on the ground, aimed at clarifying some of the questions left open by our analysis.