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Science and Mathematics

Physics Colloquium: Controls and inference for current and future gravitational wave detectors

September 21, 2021 at 3:30pm4:45pm EDT

Physics Building, 202/204

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The Department of Physics welcomes Dr.  Craig Cahillane to present a colloquia. Dr. Cahillane is currently a postdoc at LIGO Hanford Observatory. He graduated from Caltech with a PhD in experimental astrophysics, with a focus on calibration uncertainty and interferometer controls.

Abstract: With A+ upgrades being installed, Advanced LIGO is poised to detect gravitational waves from binary black holes and neutron stars out to unprecedented reaches of the universe.  While many avenues to lower quantum noise are being explored, including higher input power and the addition of a filter cavity at the output port, controls noise still limits LIGO’s sensitivity at low frequency.  To take full advantage of the A+ upgrades, new ideas to reduce detector motion at low frequencies must be explored.

Additionally, important interferometric parameters are now being estimated with higher precision due to new measurement techniques.  Estimating parameters like the laser power in the arms, losses in the signal-recycling cavity, and losses in the arms are crucial for characterizing the detector performance.  At the same time, third-generation gravitational wave detectors like Cosmic Explorer are being designed based on the experiences with Advanced LIGO.  Results achieved in Advanced LIGO will inform whether the next generation of detectors can achieve their science goals.

In this talk, I will overview how LIGO detects gravitational waves, explain my role in making the detector work, and outline some of the advances made in the recent past, some ideas for minimizing controls noise for the near future, and how important our performance now is for the far future.

NOTE: This is a hybrid event. Please contact for zoom link.

This event was published on September 13, 2021.

Event Details