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Physics Seminar: Advanced gravitational-wave detectors and beyond: Improving sensitivity with Faraday isolators

April 28, 2021, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location Zoom: email for connection link
SponsorPhysics Club, Physics & Astronomy DepartmentPosted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
Prof. Martin in her optics lab.


Prof. Rodica Martin, Physics & Astronomy, Montclair State University


Following a major upgrade, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) detected, for the first time, the merger of two black holes spiraling into each other and disturbing the space-time fabric of the universe with gravitational ripples that travelled to us for more than one billion years. These ripples shook the mirrors of the LIGO detector by less than 1/1000 of the radius of a proton. Other detections followed from a variety of sources, including the merger of two neutron stars observed by the broad astronomical community in both gravitational-waves and light, as well as from black holes with unexpected masses. Just as Galileo’s discovery of the Jovian moons sparked the engineering revolution for building better performing telescopes, the discovery of gravitational waves opened the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy and prompted scientists to design and build even more sensitive instruments. Faraday isolators are key components in gravitational wave detectors, with the role of preventing scattered noise from building up and affecting their sensitivity. In this talk I will present our group’s efforts at Montclair State on building the low-loss Faraday isolators for the A+ LIGO upgrade, and will discuss future developments of these isolators for the next generation of gravitational wave detectors.