Quantum Science Seminar #58

Gravitational wave observatories: km-scale 'quantum sensors'

October 07, 2021
Sheila Rowan - University of Glasgow (Glasgow - United Kingdom)


In September 2015 the twin `Advanced LIGO' observatories enabled the first direct detection of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. The waves detected originated from the collision and merger of two black holes 1.3 billion light years from earth. This detection marked the start of new field of gravitational astrophysics, in the 100th anniversary year of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The observatories operate by using laser interferometry to search for the tiny changes in the relative positions of the suspended optics in a Michelson-type interferometer, induced by the passage of gravitational waves. This talk will describe the technologies developed to reach the threshold of first detection and outline the research directions being pursued to increase the operating sensitivity of the detectors - where quantum effects form an important noise source in the instruments.


[1] B. P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration)

"GW150914: The Advanced LIGO Detectors in the Era of First Discoveries"

Physical Review Letters 116, 131103 (2016)

[2] M. Bailes, B. K. Berger, P. R. Brady, M. Branchesi, K. Danzmann, M. Evans, K. Holley-Bockelmann, B. R. Iyer, T. Kajita, S. Katsanevas, M. Kramer, A. Lazzarini, L. Lehner, G. Losurdo, H. Lück, D. E. McClelland, M. A. McLaughlin, M. Punturo, S. Ransom, S. Raychaudhury, D. H. Reitze, F. Ricci, S. Rowan, Y. Saito, G. H. Sanders, B. S. Sathyaprakash, B. F. Schutz, A. Sesana, H. Shinkai, X. Siemens, D. H. Shoemaker, J. Thorpe, J. F. J. van den Brand, and S. Vitale

"Gravitational-wave physics and astronomy in the 2020s and 2030s"

Nature Reviews Physics 3, 344 (2021)

[3] John Timmer

"LIGO is so sensitive it shudders with the quantum noise of light"

Ars Technica (2020)

Access the live talk at 17.00 CEST or the recording afterwards via this link:

Quantum Science Seminar #58 - Sheila Rowan

Here you can find the recording of the last lecture by Mete Atatüre.

Quantum Science Seminar #57 - Mete Atatüre

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