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A new instrument called a quantum vacuum squeezer is helping LIGO — the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory — to detect gravitational wave signals nearly every week. Just a year ago, LIGO was picking up gravitational waves about once a month. LIGO comprises two identical detectors, one located in Hanford, Wash., and the other in Livingston, La.
The squeezer was designed, built, and integrated with LIGO’s detectors by an international research team from MIT, Caltech, and the Australian National University (ANU). It suppresses the quantum noise that can infiltrate the LIGO detectors, extending the detectors’ range by about 15%. Combined with an increase in LIGO’s laser power, this means the…READ MORE