LIGO Document G090004-v1

Advanced LIGO and the Second Generation of Gravitational Wave Detection

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13 Jan 2009, 12:33
Poster presented at 213th AAS meeting in Long Beach, CA, January 2009.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) recently completed an observational run, collecting a year of network data at design sensitivity (approximately 3 x 10^-23 /rtHz at 100Hz). Advanced LIGO, a planned upgrade recently funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the sensitivity by approximately an order of magnitude, which translates into an enhanced physics reach such that it will exceed the integrated observations of the 1 year initial LIGO science run during its first several hours of operation. The upgraded detectors, expected to come online in 2014, will enable us to study sources which were not accessible to initial LIGO, and to extract detailed astrophysical information. For example, the Advanced LIGO detectors will be able to see inspiraling binaries made up of two 1.4 M neutron stars to a distance of 300 Mpc, some 15x further than the initial LIGO, and giving an event rate some 3000x greater. Neutron star - black hole (BH) binaries will be visible to 650 Mpc; and coalescing BH+BH systems will be visible to cosmological distance, to z=0.4. This enhanced sensitivity will come about from major upgrades to all of the interferometer subsystems, including a significant increase in the input laser power, superior seismic isolation, low loss fused silica test masses with engineered optical coatings, the addition of a signal recycling mirror for tuned operation, and homodyne readout of the GW signal. Advanced LIGO is confidently expected to yield a rich set of observations that should change the field from one of detection to one of astronomy.

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