Stories of Impact: Daniel Martinez

I was inspired to study physics because it allows me to understand the basic building blocks of a problem. From there, I can expand on a topic and determine useful and complex applications from it.

I am currently conducting research on the materials that are used to make the mirrors for future gravitational-wave detectors like LIGO Voyager (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), which will be used to identify black hole mergers and neutron star mergers across the universe.

We are exploring one type of promising mirror coating material, which has very good optical properties. We are also investigating crystalline silicon as a new mirror material for future detectors because of its low thermal and mechanical loss at very low temperatures — as low as 4 degrees Kelvin. This research, which will be shared with scientific collaborators, can help inform which materials are selected for future designs of gravitational-wave detectors.

Joshua Smith and Daniel Martinez

I have gained so much from working in the Nicholas and Lee Begovich Center for Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy. I’m learning how to operate equipment like lasers and other optical systems, an industrial oven and a low-temperature vacuum system known as a cryostat.

I want to be able to solve problems — and in-depth experience with these systems as a student enables me to do so. On a personal note, the lab has taught me a lot about how I work with others. I was very shy before I joined, but collaborating with other people in the lab has pushed me to open up and have fun with my research.

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I hope I’m setting an example. To supply the funds to advance our understanding of the world — that is amazing joy … real joy.

Nicholas Begovich (1921-2020), university supporter

800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599


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