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LISA and Beyond. Neil Cornish Louis Rubbo, Seth Timpano & Jeff Crowder. Outline. LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) LIASE (Laser Interferometer Arc-Second Explorer) BBO (Big Bang Observatory). Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. Courtesy Rutherford Appelton Lab.

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LISA and Beyond

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lisa and beyond

LISA and Beyond

Neil Cornish

Louis Rubbo, Seth Timpano & Jeff Crowder

  • LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna)
  • LIASE (Laser Interferometer Arc-Second Explorer)
  • BBO (Big Bang Observatory)
laser interferometer space antenna
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna

Courtesy Rutherford Appelton Lab

lisa ligo in space
LISA = LIGO in Space


  • Synthetic vs. Fabrey-Perot Interferometery
  • Wavelengths comparable to size of detector
  • Free running vs. locked (Hetrodyne detection)

Key Technologies

  • Accelerometers (disturbance reduction system)
  • Ultra stable lasers and clocks
lisa astronomy
LISA Astronomy

Kip Thorne

lisa science
LISA Science
  • Detect every SMBH & IMBH binary merger in the Universe
  • Resolve ~ 3000 stellar binaries in Galaxy
  • Holiodesy/Bothrodesy
  • Graviton Mass
  • M-Theory CGB
  • Cosmic Strings
data analysis
Simple Waveforms

High Signal/Noise

(Too) Many sources

Complex modulation

One detector

Complex Waveforms

Poor Signal/Noise

(Too) Few sources

Weak modulation

Two detectors

Data Analysis:


(Exceptions: EMR, SMBH Mergers)

(Exception: Isolated Pulsars)

galactic background and confusion noise
Galactic Background and Confusion Noise

Timpano, Rubbo & Cornish

Main noise source for LISA is signal!

am fm stereo
AM - FM - Stereo

Channel 2

Channel 1

forward modeling
Forward Modeling


N. J. Cornish and L. J. Rubbo, Phys. Rev. D 67, 022001 (2003)

GW Source




galactic background
Galactic Background

Timpano, Rubbo & Cornish. (Similar work by Benacquista)

astrophysical information encoded in time series
Astrophysical Information Encoded in Time Series

Time series depends on many source parameters

Internal Parameters

External Parameters

Can estimate parameter resolution using Fisher Information Matrix (Cutler, Hellings & Moore, Vecchio, Seto, Hughes)

Many parameters highly correlated (Cutler) Many sources that interfere (Cornish & Crowder)

Coming soon: The LISA Calculator (Java web tool)

the future is in gems
The Future is in GEMS

Gravitational-ElectroMagnetic Sources

  • Break Degeneracies
    • GW : EM (Spc. Binaries)
  • Cover Gaps
    • GW : EM (SMBHB)
    • GW : EM (LMXBs)
  • Verify Source Identity

Can we identify optical counterparts to LISA sources?

lisa angular resolution
LISA Angular Resolution

Amplitude modulation

Doppler modulation

Monochromatic Binaries. Fixed SNR=10

big bang observatory
Big Bang Observatory

P.I. Phinney. Co.I’s Bender, Buchman, Cornish, Fritschel, Folkner, Merkowitz.


Many science drivers will shape future detectors. In almost every case improved angular resolution and electromagnetic counterparts will be very valuable.

Amazing things are possible for large sums of money