Interferometric Detection of Gravitational Waves :
5 Needed Breakthroughs -- David Blair
[ After David Shoemaker of LIGO and Jean-Yves Vinet of Virgo, today we present Prof. David Blair's list of 5 breakthroughs that he expects to see in his field of research -- the interferometric detection of gravitational waves -- the topic that we are currently focusing on.
David Blair is Director of the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre (AIGRC) and a Professor of the University of Western Australia, Nedlands. Since late 1980's he is leading the Australian research effort for the detection of gravitational waves.
In the 1980's he built a very sensitive resonant mass detector called NIOBE, consisting of a huge bar of the metal niobium cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero. This detector operated as part of a world wide network which set upper limits on the number of bursts from our galaxy. These results implied that there was no unexpected population of sources such as coalescing black holes in our Milky Way.
In the 1990's Blair with colleagues across Australia proposed setting up an Australian large scale interferometer detector AIGO. Phase 1 of this project has been substantially completed. It is located at Gingin, Western Australia, on a large site set aside for a long baseline detector. The current facility is working to develop the technology for the next stage, an Advanced high optical power interferometer. It uses high power lasers developed by Prof Jesper Munch's group at the University of Adelaide, and control systems developed by LIGO and by Prof David McClelland's group of the Australian National University.
The Gingin facility is a joint facility of the Australian Consortium for Gravitational Astronomy and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The main focus of research is on developing control systems for very high power suspended optics in which thermal effects and radiation pressure effects must be carefully controlled. When the Australian detector is developed into a full scale observatory it will contribute a large improvement to the angular resolution of the world wide network, and enable signals to be identified with distant host galaxies - roughly a 16 fold increase in the number of potential host galaxies.
He also plays an important role in the activities of the Gravity Discovery Centre, the associated award winning public education centre on the AIGO site. It's an inspirational self supporting, non-profit public education and tourism centre that focusses on the big questions of Life and the Universe, and the extraordinary biodiversity of Wallingup Plain.
- 2Physics.com Team ]
"1.First detection of a single event to prove the viability of gravitational wave detection and the existence of detectable waves.
2. Demonstration of high optical power interferometry to pave the way for advanced detectors.
3. Operation of advanced detectors and the detection of frequent GW signals.
4.Operation of detectors with sensitivity better than the standard quantum limit.
5. Detection of cosmological gravitational waves from the big bang and tests of the theory of inflation. "
Relevant Links: AIGRC Gravity Discovery Centre LIGO Science Colloaboration