Technology development at GEO600
The GEO Collaboration, a team of Max Planck, Leibniz Universität Hannover and UK researchers, has been operating the GEO600 gravitational-wave detector south of Hannover, Germany, since the mid 1990s. GEO600 is a development center for novel and advanced technologies in the international gravitational-wave research community. Many key technologies that enable the unprecedented sensitivity of LIGO and its discoveries have been developed and tested by GEO600.
AEI researchers together with the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. also developed, built, and installed the high-power laser systems at the heart of the LIGO instruments. Crucial improvements in the optical measurement principle such as power and signal recycling where first demonstrated in GEO600 as a large gravitational-wave detector.
Quantum mechanical tricks for the future of gravitational-wave astronomy
GEO600 is the only gravitational-wave detector worldwide using “squeezed light” to mitigate fundamental quantum noise effects and improve its sensitivity at high frequencies. In the future all ground-based gravitational-wave detectors will use squeezed-light sources similar to that at GEO600 to further improve their sensitivity. The Virgo detector in Italy has been improved in early 2018 with a squeezed light source developed and built at the Albert Einstein Institute.
GEO600 is jointly operated by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, the Leibniz Universität Hannover and research groups at the Universities of Cardiff and Glasgow. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal State of Lower Saxony, the Max Planck Society, the British Science & Technology Facilities Council and the Volkswagen Foundation.