Course: Learn Laser Interferometry

Learn Laser Interferometry

A self-study course on interferometry for precision measurements,
using IPython notebooks.

Daniel Töyrä
Daniel Brown
Andreas Freise
and others
since 2016

This page provides resources and self-study material on laser interferometry. In particular we cover the topics related to the use of optical systems for gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO. At the same time this is a collection of reference examples for using PyKat.

Table of Contents

We are in the process of uploading material. Expect frequent updates during summer 2016

Get started!

The course is presented as a selection of IPython notebooks (or Jupyter notebooks), interactive Python notebooks that run in a web browser. You can interact with the notebooks in two ways:

  • View the notebooks as HTML pages: If you want to browse the material, or want to look up examples, you can use the direct links below to find specific topics or the individual notebooks.
  • Download the GitHub repository: The complete course is available in the GitHub repository Learn Laser Interferometry on GitHub. Follow the instructions in GitHub to download a local copy of the repository. In the main folder further installation instructions are provided in the file Introduction.pdf. This allows you to edit the notebooks and do your own simulation tasks.
Screen-shots of IPython notebooks from this course.


Creative Commons Licence
Learn Laser Interferometry by D. Toyra, D. Brown and A. Freise is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The code is also made available under the GNU General Public License (GPLv3).

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available via

About the course

At the Gravitational Wave Group in Birmingham, UK, we work on the optical design and technologies of the laser interferometers for gravitational wave detection. For example, we led the optical design of the Einstein Telescope, the Optical Simulation and Design group towards the first baseline design of Advanced Virgo and are contributing to the Advanced Interferometer Configurations group of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. In this course we combine material we have used in the past to train our graduate students starting in this field, for example as part of the GraWIToN training network.


© Andreas Freise 2009 onwards. The css design is based on a free template from Free CSS Templates.