New Laser Breakthrough for Gravitational Waves Will Test the Fundamental Limits

Waves Propagating Through Space

Artist’s concept of gravitational waves propagating through space.

New laser breakthrough to help increase understanding of

Gravitational wave scientists from The University of Western Australia (UWA) have led the development of a new laser mode sensor with unprecedented precision that will be used to probe the interiors of neutron stars and test the fundamental limits of general relativity.

Gravitational waves are “cosmic ripples” in space-time caused by some of the most energetic and violent processes in the Universe such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other, colliding black holes, supernovae, and colliding neutron stars.

Research Associate from UWA’s Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav-UWA) Dr. Aaron Jones, said UWA co-ordinated a global collaboration of gravitational wave, metasurface, and photonics experts to pioneer a new method to measure structures of light called “eigenmodes.”

“Gravitational wave detectors like

“However, each of these pairs has small distortions that scatters light away from the perfect shape of the laser beam which can cause excess noise in the detector, limiting sensitivity and taking the detector offline.

“We wanted to test an idea that would let us zoom in on the laser beam and look for the small ‘wiggles’ in power that can limit the detectors’ sensitivity.”

Laser Breakthrough Gravitational Waves Apparatus

A schematic of the apparatus used by the researchers. ‘f’ is the focal length of the lens. Credit: University of Western Australia

Dr. Jones said a similar problem is encountered in the telecoms industry where scientists are investigating ways to use multiple eigenmodes…

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