University of Birmingham: School of Physics and Astronomy
The Gravitational Wave group within the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham has been involved in the Einstein Telescope from its very beginning and is now contributing to work packages 3 (chaired by Andreas Freise) and 4.
Dr. Andreas Freise from the University of Birmingham's School of Physics and Astronomy who leads the optical design of the Einstein Telescope says: "The Einstein Telescope is an amazing instrument, it combines many new ideas and technologies to create the most sensitive instrument listening to the faint echos in the fabric of space and time". He knows several complex gravitational wave detectors from first hand experience: "I helped building the GEO600 and Virgo detectors and later had the chance to contribute to the optical design for Advanced Virgo. Now, leading the optical design of the Einstein Telescope has been a great opportunity for me, using hands-on experience to design something completely new."
Prof. Alberto Vecchio who leads the LIGO Scientific Collaboration activities at the University of Birmingham, said: "We expect to achieve the first direct detection of gravitational waves with Advanced LIGO, to which our group has made direct contributions. As new ideas mature, the Einstein Telescope becomes the next natural step in the quest for observing the universe with new "eyes", and a bold step beyond Advanced LIGO: with its exquisite sensitivity the Einstein Telescope will enable us to produce precise maps of black holes, unveiling many of their mysteries, and possibly peek into the first moments of cosmic history after the Big Bang."
The research programme of the Gravitational Wave Group at the University of Birmingham is centred on the observation of the universe in the gravitational wave band, and on testing gravity at new scales. The group's expertise in theory and data analysis complements the experimental activities, and underpins the wide- ranging theoretical and observational programme. This is focused on studies of gravitational wave sources and relevant astrophysical scenarios, the development of efficient analysis techniques and the search for gravitational waves in the data of LIGO, Virgo and GEO600.
University of Glasgow: Institute for Gravitational Research (IGR)
The Institute for Gravitational Research (IGR) at the University of Glasgow has 40 years experience of pioneering efforts in the gravitational wave field and now contributes to ET under the leadership of Prof. Sheila Rowan; Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research on the following tasks:
Work Package 2 (Suspension requirements):
The suspensions of ET ́s optical elements must provide the necessary attenuation from seismic and acoustic noise and must implement the control strategy necessary to keep the interferometer at its working point. The IGR has a high level of expertise in the study of mechanical losses of materials at room and low temperature losses and thus contributes strongly in this area. IGR scientists applied this expertise to the conceptual design of ET ́s overall cryogenic suspension. As the group has also unparalleled experience in the design and construction of monolithic final stage suspension so also contributed strongly to the last stage suspension design tasks of ET.
Work Package 3 (Topology identification):
Within the German-British gravitational wave project GEO the IGR is developing several aspects of advanced interferometry. In particular, expertise in all-reflective interferometers, and in radiation pressure effects in high power coupled cavity systems, informed the preliminary design of ET ́s interferometer topology and options for signal readout.
Work Package 4 (Astrophysics issues):
Glasgow has a high level of expertise and experience in determining the astrophysical implications of detector data. Hence the IGR scientists study the cosmological implications of z~1 neutron star coalescences, the requirements for joint (trigger mode) observations with the Square Kilometer Array and optimisation of the detector for galactic pulsar observations.
The IGR has a substantial research programme centred on the detection and analysis of gravitational wave signals. The IGR members are co-founders of the GEO collaboration and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, with significant investment from UK funding councils (STFC and SFC) and the University of Glasgow underpinning their state of the art experimental laboratories. The experimental expertise in the areas of low thermal noise suspensions for interferometric detectors and advanced optical topologies for interferometers has helped shape the worldwide field of gravitational wave detection with the novel suspension technologies they developed for the GEO instrument being adopted for the US ‘Advanced LIGO’ detector system upgrade, supported by a capital investment from STFC (on which Glasgow is UK lead institution) and a variant adopted for use in upgrades to the Virgo detectors, along with developments of our advanced interferometric techniques.
"Today, European researchers are presenting an exciting programme of gravitational wave detection involving instruments that are unbelievably sensitive able to sense changes in distances, resulting from the effects of periodic space-time distortions on a mass, much smaller than an atomic nucleus. UK scientists, supported by STFC and SFC, are not only pioneers in developing a significant part of the novel ET technology, but also in formulating detailed theoretical predictions about gravitational wave events across the Universe and the associated patterns of frequencies we can expect to see", says Sheila Rowan.