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Science and Mathematics

Prospects for a Precision Probe of Black Hole Physics

February 17, 2020 at 3:30pm5:00pm EST

Physics Building

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The Department of Physics welcomes Dr. Richardson to present their weekly colloquia. Dr. Richardson is a postdoctoral Scholar in Physics at Caltech LIGO Laboratory.

Abstract: In the past five years, LIGO has established gravitational waves as a new observational probe of the Universe. Gravitational wave detection is poised to revolutionize not just astronomy, but fundamental physics through its unique potential to test the nature of black holes. A growing number of theoretical ideas propose quantum modifications at the horizon scale, in order to resolve the Information Paradox. Their presence could be detected in precision measurements of the gravitational radiation emitted during and immediately following binary black hole mergers, either as additional “ringdown” modes of the final black hole or as gravitational wave “echoes.” Achieving this will require improving the LIGO detectors in the high-frequency band limited by photon shot noise. We expect to reduce shot noise through (1) injection of squeezed quantum states of light and (2) increasing the resonating optical power inside the detector. In this talk, I will discuss the factors currently limiting these approaches. I will highlight the need for new active wavefront control technologies to mitigate optical loss, which will boost the power-handling capability of LIGO and enable a larger reduction of quantum noise.

This event was published on February 6, 2020.

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