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Quantum-enhanced gravitational wave detectors (Q-GWD): key technologies for next generation gravitational-wave observatories


Crystalline Mirror Solutions (CMS) is thrilled to announce a new collaboration with the Niels Bohr Institute, Danmarks Nationale Metrologiinstitut, and Therkildsen Development ApS to develop novel technologies for the next-generation of gravitational-wave detectors. This project, with a total duration of 3 years, will be pursued within the framework of the European Eureka Turbo program. 

The direct observation of gravitational waves represents a revolutionary milestone in modern science. This discovery has initiated an entirely new era of astronomy, yielding the first physical evidence of black holes and the first glimpse of a neutron-neutron star merger. Gravitational wave detectors are one of the most sensitive measurement tools on earth. Over the preceding three decades, scientists and engineers have worked tirelessly to improve the sensitivity of these detectors and are now left fighting their biggest enemy: measurement noise. While the first detection event was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2017, the Austrian/Danish consortium was already working on concepts for follow-on generations of detectors, with the aim of peering even deeper into our universe. Along these lines, the semiconductor supermirrors pioneered by CMS have recently emerged as the new gold-standard for application in thermal-noise limited optical metrology. Within the Q-GWD project, CMS will work diligently to scale its crystalline mirror technology to 20 cm in diameter, continuing down the path towards the ultimate goal of reaching the ~40-cm diameter scale as required for state-of-the-art detectors. With crystalline coatings integrated in these systems, it will be possible to finally tackle the fundamental thermal noise originating from the mirror coatings. Overcoming the limiting Brownian noise is of the utmost importance for our Danish partners, as they are addressing another fundamental noise source — quantum noise. Overcoming this fundamental barrier to ever more sensitive measurements will rely on the implementation of a sub-standard quantum limit (SQL) measurement scheme based on squeezed light sources in combination with a quantum back action evasion system. 

A proof-of-concept demonstration of the first sub-SQL measurement process is planned for 2020 at the 10-m prototype detector at the Albert-Einstein-Institute in Hannover.


We anticipat an exciting string of new scientific discoveries will eminate from this effort and we look forward to continuing to push the size scaling of our crystalline coatings.