LIGO Document G1600675-v2

Listening to the universe: detecting gravitational waves with laser interferometry

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On September 14th, 2015, the twin laser interferometers of LIGO made the first direct detection of gravitational waves. The signal, from a binary black hole coalescence which released 3 solar masses of energy, produced a peak gravitational wave strain of only 10^-21 in the LIGO detectors. To measure this incredibly small strain, the LIGO interferometers had to make the most sensitive displacement measurements to date. This talk will focus on the science of the detectors: technical and fundamental limits to our sensitivity, including thermal and quantum fluctuations, and plans for future improvements to the detectors, including the use of squeezed light to reduce quantum noise.
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