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Science and Mathematics

Physics Colloquium: Commissioning the advanced LIGO detectors for the fourth observing run

September 23, 2021 at 3:30pm4:45pm EDT

Physics Building, 202/204

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The Department of Physics is pleased to welcome Dr. Georgia Mansell to present a colloquium.  Dr. Mansell received her Ph.D. from Australian National University where she worked on the squeezed light sources for current and future interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. She is currently a MIT postdoctoral associate based at LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO) where she works on the study and mitigation of different noise sources.

Abstract: Gravitational-wave astronomy is an exciting young field which began when the advanced laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatory (aLIGO) first detected gravitational waves from a binary black hole in 2015. The aLIGO detectors consist of two Michelson interferometers with 4km arms. The sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves is extreme – the first event (GW150914) produced a peak strain of 10^-21. Since that first detection aLIGO has completed three interleaved periods of observation and upgrades, resulting in the observation of 50 compact binary coalescences of black holes and neutron stars.

In this talk I will summarize the latest astrophysical results from the aLIGO detectors. I will explain the process of commissioning – hunting sources of noise to achieve the highest possible sensitivity in preparation for observing. I’ll discuss the upgrades and performance of the detectors during the most recent observing run (O3), and then discuss ongoing upgrades for O4, including a long baseline filter cavity for frequency-dependent squeezing.

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

This event was published on September 13, 2021.

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