"Interferometric Detection of Gravitational Waves :
4 Needed Breakthroughs" -- David Shoemaker
David Shoemaker standing next to the full-scale interferometer testbed in LIGO MIT Lab (photo courtsey: LIGO MIT Laboratory)
[We asked leading scientists of various fields to point out 5 needed breakthroughs that they would like to see in their own field of research. We are starting this feature today with the input from Dr. David Shoemaker.
David Shoemaker played an important role in both the R&D effort and commissioning of the joint Caltech-MIT LIGO laboratory for the detection of gravitational waves. Currently, he is Director of the LIGO MIT Laboratory at Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, MIT. He also leads the LIGO research group on Advanced LIGO Development.
-- 2Physics.com team]
"Four, rather than five, breakthroughs would satisfy me:
- A means to significantly reduce (through changes in formulation or process) or circumvent (via an alternative optical topology) the thermal noise in the reflective dielectric coating on the test masses (and in the bulk of the test masses as the next step!)
- Successful application of prepared states of light to improve the sensitivity of full-scale gravitational-wave detectors while keeping circulating power at technically acceptable levels.
- A practical application of a method to regress out (via e.g., an array of seismometers) or reduce (via e.g., a mechanical design) the gravitational gradient noise, allowing lower frequency operation on the ground.
- ....and, slightly different in character: The first direct detection of a gravitational wave."
LIGO Laboratory LIGO MIT Laboratory LIGO Science Collaboration