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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

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