LASER AND VACUUM EQUIPMENT AREA (LVEA)
This panorama shows a portion of the LIGO Hanford Laser and Vacuum Equipment Area (LVEA). The LVEA occupies most of LHO's central building. It's the space that houses the laser enclosure and all of the interferometer optics and associated hardware except the systems that reside at the far ends of the long detector arms. One angle of the panorama shows a portion of the beam tube that carries light away from the beam splitter along the "Y" arm of the detector. Just behind the free-standing black partitions, the beam tube leaves the building and continues for four kilometers to the end station inside a protective concrete tunnel.
Viewers can see that the space in this panorama contained a lot of activity during the installation of Advanced LIGO between 2011 and 2014. The entire large space in the LVEA is a clean room, and LIGO uses additional portable clean rooms, several of which are visible here, for additional contamination control. Inside one of these clean rooms you'll see a set of white girders -- a test stand -- on which LIGO's large optic suspensions underwent final testing before installation into H1's vacuum chambers. Nearby and outside of a clean room at the time of this photo sits a second test stand, the one that LHO personnel used for final testing of the 8500lb internal seismic isolation platforms.