LIGO Document G1100481-v1

Advanced LIGO Interferometers: The Rubber Hits the Road!

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Between 2005 and 2010, the LIGO gravitational wave detectors collected two and a half years of data at the strain sensitivity predicted by their original design. In October of 2010, the three detectors were decommissioned and are now offline undergoing a major upgrade; the first interferometer is scheduled to see ``first light'' in 2013, and all three by the end of 2014. The advanced detectors, collectively dubbed Advanced LIGO, will implement improvements on many opto-mechanical fronts in order to achieve the designed strain sensitivity: a factor of 10 improvement in the most sensitive frequency band and above, and by many orders of magnitude in lower third of the detectors' bandwidth. When the designed sensitivity is achieved, the astrophysical range out to which each detector would see an optimally-oriented, binary neutron-star system will increase from 35 Mpc to 0.45 Gpc, increasing the expected observation rate from 0.02 to 40 per year. We present a debriefing of the initial design, introduce the details of the upgraded design, and show construction progress thus far.
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