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Advanced LIGO: the Next Gravitational Wave Observatory

Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) is an ambitious project to measure gravitational waves from astrophysical sources and use these measurements to open a new observational window on the universe. Caused by accelerating masses, a gravitational wave is a traveling disturbance in the metric of space-time. They were predicted by Einstein, but because of their small amplitudes, have not (yet) been directly measured. LIGO is a 4 km baseline, high-precision laser interferometer designed to detect these waves. I will describe the current LIGO project, and discuss Advanced LIGO, the proposed major upgrade to the current observatory. To measure strains (relative length changes) on the order of 10^-22, we are advancing state-of-the- art technologies on many fronts, including active seismic isolation, high power lasers, and optical systems designed to operated with over 800 kW of incident power. I will discuss some of these new advances, and describe plans for the next decade of gravitational wave astronomy. LIGO is supported by the National Science Foundation and administered by Caltech.
Speaker: Brian Lantz - Stanford University
Speaker Bio: Dr. Lantz (Ph.D. Physics, MIT, 1999) is a Senior Research Scientist at Stanford University. He is the lead scientist for the Seismic Isolation and Alignment System for Advanced LIGO.
Poster Link: Poster
Presentation: Presentation on 2/20/2008 (PDF)