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Searching for gravitational waves with lasers. Rick Savage Caltech LIGO Hanford Observatory - Richland, WA. Black holes and time warps. Sept 1974 - transferred to UCLA in Physics Jan 1975 - started working for F. Chen and N. Luhmann as undergraduate lab assistant (with Doug Cook)

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Searching for gravitational waves with lasers

Searching for gravitational waves with lasers

Rick Savage

CaltechLIGO Hanford Observatory - Richland, WA

Black holes and time warps
Black holes and time warps

  • Sept 1974 - transferred to UCLA in Physics

  • Jan 1975 - started working for F. Chen and N. Luhmann as undergraduate lab assistant (with Doug Cook)

  • 1976 to1986 - plasma diagnostics with N. Luhmann, T. Peebles, H. Fetterman, et al.

  • 1986 to 1992 - graduate school in EE at UCLA withChan Josh, Warren Mori, Ken Marsh, Chris Clayton, et al.

    • Masters thesis – Degenerate four-wave mixing in heated CO2 gas

    • PhD thesis – Frequency upshifting of electromagnetic radiation via an underdense relativistic ionization front

  • 1992 to present - LIGO project at Caltech until 1997 then LIGO Hanford Observatory in Richland, WA

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Ligo laser interferometer gravitational wave observatory
LIGO: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory

Hanford, WA


3002 km

(L/c = 10 ms)


  • Managed and operated by Caltech & MIT with funding from NSF

  • Goal: Direct observation ofgravitational waves

  • Open a new observationalwindow on the Universe

Livingston, LA

Ligo scientific collaboration

LIGO Scientific Collaboration

LIGO Scientific Collaboration

  • University of Michigan

  • University of Minnesota

  • The University of Mississippi

  • Massachusetts Inst. of Technology

  • Monash University

  • Montana State University

  • Moscow State University

  • National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

  • Northwestern University

  • University of Oregon

  • Pennsylvania State University

  • Rochester Inst. of Technology

  • Rutherford Appleton Lab

  • University of Rochester

  • San Jose State University

  • Univ. of Sannio at Benevento, and Univ. of Salerno

  • University of Sheffield

  • University of Southampton

  • Southeastern Louisiana Univ.

  • Southern Univ. and A&M College

  • Stanford University

  • University of Strathclyde

  • Syracuse University

  • Univ. of Texas at Austin

  • Univ. of Texas at Brownsville

  • Trinity University

  • Tsinghua University

  • Universitat de les IllesBalears

  • Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst

  • University of Western Australia

  • Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

  • Washington State University

  • University of Washington

  • Australian Consortiumfor InterferometricGravitational Astronomy

  • The Univ. of Adelaide

  • Andrews University

  • The Australian National Univ.

  • The University of Birmingham

  • California Inst. of Technology

  • Cardiff University

  • Carleton College

  • Charles Sturt Univ.

  • Columbia University

  • CSU Fullerton

  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical Univ.

  • EötvösLoránd University

  • University of Florida

  • German/British Collaboration forthe Detection of Gravitational Waves

  • University of Glasgow

  • Goddard Space Flight Center

  • Leibniz Universität Hannover

  • Hobart & William Smith Colleges

  • Inst. of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  • Polish Academy of Sciences

  • India Inter-University Centrefor Astronomy and Astrophysics

  • Louisiana State University

  • Louisiana Tech University

  • Loyola University New Orleans

  • University of Maryland

  • Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

General relativity gravitational waves
General relativity – gravitational waves

“Matter tells spacetime how to curve.Spacetimetells matter how to move.”J. A Wheeler

Albert Einstein1916

GW: oscillating quadrupolar strain in spacetime

Laser Interferometer

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Potential sources
Potential sources

  • Coalescing Binary Systems

  • neutron stars

  • low mass black holes

  • NS/BS systems

  • Burst Sources

  • galactic asymmetric core collapse supernovae

  • cosmic strings

  • ???

  • Continuous Sources

  • spinning neutron stars

  • probe crustal deformations

  • Cosmic GW background

  • stochastic incoherent background

Credit: AEI, CCT, LSU

Credit: Chandra X-ray Observatory

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Casey Reed, Penn State

NASA/WMAP Science Team

Capturing the waveform
Capturing the waveform


Kip Thorne

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Detection of gravitational waves
Detection of gravitational waves

Michelson interferometer

- differential length change sensor

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Ligo detectors
LIGO detectors

Power recycled



with Fabry-Perot

arm cavities

4 km-longFabry-Perotarm cavity



test masses


beam splitter


UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Beam tubes and chambers
Beam tubes and chambers

  • Beam tubes:

  • 1.2 m diameter

  • LN2 pumps at ends

  • P < 1e-09 torr

  • dominated by H2

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Suspended test masses
Suspended test masses

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Initial ligo displacement sensitivity
Initial LIGO displacement sensitivity

Antenna patterns

NS-NS inspiralrange ~ 15 Mpc (S/N = 8)


S5science run




UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Scientific results of s5 run
Scientific results of S5 run

  • No detections (so far) - data still being analyzed

  • Astrophysical results – upper limits“If LIGO didn’t detect it, then it can’t be bigger than …”

    • CRAB pulsar – “no more than 4 percent of the energy loss of the pulsar is caused by the emission of gravitational waves.”(ApJL 683, L45)

    • Gamma ray burst GRB 070201 – LIGO “results give an independent wayto reject hypothesis of a compact binaryprogenitor in M31”(ApJ 2008, 681, 1419)

    • Upper limit on the stochastic gravitational wave background(

Credits for X-ray Image: NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al.

Credits for Optical Image: NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester et al.

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

What s next advanced ligo
What’s next? Advanced LIGO

  • Quantum noise limited interferometer

  • Factor of 10 increase in sensitivity

  • Factor of 1000 increase in event rate

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Laser source 10 w to 200 w
Laser source: 10 W to 200 W

Diode-pumpedYAG lasers

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Vibration isolation passive to active
Vibration isolation: passive to active

  • Masses anddamped springs

  • Geophones and accelerometers on payload

  • Active feedback control – 6 deg. of freedom

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Test mass suspensions
Test mass suspensions

  • Single pendulum

  • Quadruple pendulumwith reaction masses

  • 40 kg test masses

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009

Time warp rm 1763 boelter hall
Time warp – Rm.1763 Boelter Hall

UCLA Symposium [email protected] Nov. 2009