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Published August 28, 2016 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

The advanced LIGO detectors in the era of first discoveries


Following a major upgrade, the two advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Ob- servatory (LIGO) held their first observation run between September 2015 and January 2016. The product of observable volume and measurement time exceeded that of all previous runs within the first 16 days of coincident observation. On September 14th, 2015 the Advanced LIGO detectors observed the transient gravitational-wave signal GW150914, determined to be the coalescence of two black holes, launching the era of gravitational-wave astronomy. We present the main features of the detectors that enabled this observation. At its core Advanced LIGO is a multi-kilometer long Michelson interferometer employing optical resonators to enhance its sensitivity. Four very pure and homogeneous fused silica optics with excellent figure quality serve as the test masses. The displacement produced by the event GW150914 was one 200th of a proton radius. It was observed with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 24 in coincidence by the two detectors. At full sensitivity, the Advanced LIGO detectors are designed to deliver another factor of three improvement in the signal-to-noise ratio for binary black hole systems similar in masses to GW150914.

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© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) for the construction and operation of the LIGO Laboratory and Advanced LIGO as well as the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) of the United Kingdom, the Max-Planck-Society (MPS), and the State of Niedersach-sen/Germany for support of the construction of Advanced LIGO and construction and operation of the GEO600 detector. Additional support for Advanced LIGO was provided by the Australian Research Council. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the construction and operation of the Virgo detector and the creation and support of the EGO consortium. The authors also gratefully acknowledge research support from these agencies as well as by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research of India, Department of Science and Technology, India, Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, the Conselleria d'Economia i Competitivitat and Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Universitats of the Govern de les Illes Balears, the National Science Centre of Poland, the European Commission, the Royal Society, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the Lyon Institute of Origins (LIO), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Industry Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Lev-erhulme Trust, the Research Corporation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan and the Kavli Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSF, STFC, MPS, INFN, CNRS and the State of Niedersachsen/Germany for provision of computational resources. This document has been assigned the LIGO Laboratory document number LIGO-P1600182.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023