GEO600 contributes advanced detector techniques
Researchers at the AEI together with the Laser Zentrum Hannover developed and installed the high-power laser systems used in the aLIGO detectors. “With our UK colleagues we designed and operate the gravitational-wave detector GEO600. We use it as a think tank and testbed for advanced detector techniques,” says AEI director Prof. Karsten Danzmann, who is also the director of the Institute for Gravitational Physics at the Leibniz Universität Hannover. “Many of these new methods are now in use at the aLIGO detectors, such as signal recycling and monolithic mirror suspensions.” Danzmann's AEI division plays a pioneering role in the development and application of non-classical light in gravitational-wave detectors. GEO600 is the only detector worldwide using squeezed light to improve the detector sensitivity beyond limits set by the quantum nature of light.
This will open a new window to the otherwise invisible “dark” side of the Universe and mark the beginning of gravitational-wave astronomy. Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time that are emitted by cataclysmic cosmic events such as exploding stars, merging black holes and/or neutron stars, and rapidly rotating compact stellar remnants. These waves were predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his general theory of relativity, but have never been observed directly. At their design sensitivity, the aLIGO instruments should detect multiple gravitational-wave events each year.
About the team