Bringing Advanced LIGO to Design Performance and Further Sensitivity Enhancements

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Through the design and construction project "Advanced LIGO UK," the UK has succeeded in making fundamental contributions to the Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) detectors in the US by transfer of technology originally developed for GEO 600.

As a direct result, UK groups are in a position to fully exploit the rich science data that will be produced over the coming decade. There is, therefore, a unique opportunity to ensure that UK scientists maintain leadership in gravitational wave science, and that UK delivered equipment and facilities for the aLIGO detectors are fully exploited to maximise the science output. This is true both in terms of their implementation within the aLIGO baseline configuration, and when it is planned that reconfiguration or upgrading of aLIGO will be undertaken. It is envisaged that the UK equipment which has been designed to meet all long-term project goals, will remain in place even following such upgrades, and continued UK technical contributions and R&D effort will be essential to ensure that is the case.

Planned Impact

The immediate beneficiaries include the UK astronomy community - extending far beyond just the applicant group - who will gain access to LIGO data at the time when the first gravitational wave signals are most likely to be seen. In the longer term the research will radically alter our understanding of the Universe, including information on the nature of neutron stars and black holes, and through opportunities for precision cosmology. This will benefit the widest astronomy/astrophysics community, internationally.
As cosmology and astrophysics are always forefront areas for public outreach, there will be considerable impact resulting from the discovery of gravitational waves and the burgeoning science that will inevitably result. To have a major focus for this new science in the UK should help revitalise public interest at a time when economic pressures could potentially fight against the growth of science in our community. There is no doubt that a discovery of gravitational waves would galvanise public interest at all levels from school pupils up. An improved understanding of cosmology and compact-object astrophysics, of the most impressive and even violent nature, is bound to catch the public imagination, and produce demand for creative works such as television programmes. A concrete example of direct benefit of Advanced LIGO UK to the popular culture exists in the Science Museum, London, where pre-prototype test mass and the metal structural components of an Advanced LIGO test-mass suspension, both made available by the collaboration, are on display.
The earlier Advanced LIGO UK construction project brought direct benefit to several areas of UK industry both through the placement of over £3M of contracts, but also by pushing manufacturing techniques to reach higher standards of quality and precision required for our work. Examples include: optics, precision mechanics and electronics. In some cases these companies have subsequently been able to market the esulting technology, nationally and internationally.
In summary there is a wide range of potential impact. The majority of these should start to be realised within the duration of the project (it is likely that a discovery will be made around 2015, if not before). In the later part of this decade gravitational wave science should be becoming mature, and the consequences for both science and its public understanding should have attained major proportions.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description advances in radiation pressure noise have been included into FINESSE, one of the main gravitational-wave laser interferometer simulation tools.

we have detected gravitational waves taking also advantage of the work funded through this grant
Exploitation Route the modelling advances are now part of the standard ground-based laser interferometer modelling tools, and Advanced LIGO as well as other efforts in the world, such as Virgo and KAGRA are using these results and tools. This will also be used by LIGO India that has just been funded
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Other

URL https://losc.ligo.org/
 
Description the advanced modelling of (sub-)systems in gravitational-wave laser interferometers that has been delivered is now part of the standard modelling tools for Advanced LIGO, the most sensitive instrument in the world, and other GW laser interferometers. This has contributed to the direct detection of gravitational waves, the first observation of a binary black holes and the observation of a binary neutron star merger.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Other
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description ASPERA
Amount £42,468 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham
Amount £1,830,268 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S000305/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 03/2022
 
Description Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, STFC Equipment Call 2018
Amount £81,350 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S002154/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 06/2019
 
Description Gravitational Wave Excellence Through Alliance Training (GrEAT) Network with China
Amount £6,405 (GBP)
Funding ID n/a 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2020
 
Description Marie Courie Fellowship - Haixing Miao
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2016
 
Description Newton STFC Capacity Building ith LIGO-India
Amount £7,951 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2020
 
Description Novel Technologies for Cross-disciplinary Research programme
Amount £2,515,589 (GBP)
Funding ID GG-TOP: Gravity Gradient 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2011 
End 02/2015
 
Description Proposal for UK Involvoment in the Operation of Advanced LIGO
Amount £304,756 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N000072/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2019
 
Title finesse 
Description Frequency domain INterfErometer Simulation SoftwarE 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2007 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact it has allowed design and debug laser interferometers with a simple but powerful tool. It has allowed to simulate many different user-defined optical setups. It has been used for Advanced LIGO 
URL http://www.gwoptics.org/finesse/
 
Description GEO Collaboration 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data analysis and instrumental development
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and instrumental development
Impact Many papers, technology developments, and outreach events
 
Description GEO Collaboration 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department Physics and Astronomy Department
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Data analysis and instrumental development
Collaborator Contribution Data analysis and instrumental development
Impact Many papers, technology developments, and outreach events
 
Title finesse 
Description Finesse is a software package that allows to design and test par-axial laser optics setups, with a specific focus on precision length measurements. The package is well documented and open source. Development has started in 1997 and software has been used and improved within the international science collaborations ever since. It is still under active development with new features being implemented upon request from the community. Optics, active and adaptive optics, mirrors, aspherics, interferometers, photonics 
Type Of Technology Software 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Finesse is a international standard package in the field of gravitational wave science. It is also used in other fields of science. I have been in informal collaborations with companies and defense contractors in the US who have used the software. 
URL http://www.gwoptics.org/finesse/
 
Company Name Laser Labs Games CIC 
Description Laser Labs is a small scale developer for educational apps. Our aim is to promote science using well designed and fun apps. Our endeavour can be traced back to the Gravitational Wave Group at the University of Birmingham where we developed our first applications, from simple simulations to arcade-style games. These were soon used at science fairs by ourselves and by other scientists around the world. The apps work well for attracting an audience and for providing talking points to introduce specific research topics. Our applications became an important element in a highly ranked impact case study for the REF 2014, a regular process for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Laser Labs Games CIC, or Laser Labs for short, was founded to provide the legal structure for bringing our applications to the well known app stores. We are now recreating our applications for modern devices and technologies, and continue to work with research groups to discuss new ideas and to develop new apps to help bringing science to the masses. 
Year Established 2016 
Impact We succesfull managed to port two of our apps Pocket Black Hole and Strecth and Squash to mobile apps in time for the announcement of the first graviational wave detection. Many of the groups in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration used these apps during the public engagement activities around the event. We later published a mobile version of Space Time Quest and are now preparing Black Hole Master for mobile.
Website https://www.laserlabs.org/
 
Description BICEP2 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact sparked questions and discussion afterwards

people asked to visit research group and talk to scientists
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Astronomy in the City 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Astronomy in the City is our flagship outreach event. It's hosted about 5 times a year, advertised widely by the university in the city and region. Tickets are free and must be booked. We regularly have >100 attendees per event. Each event inlcudes a number of different activities, inlcuding a visit to the University's observatory, a talk by an expert and often hands-on exhibits. We make sure that the talks are related to our own STFC funded research and over the last 12 month gravitational waves and black holes have been the key feature.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.sr.bham.ac.uk/observatory/astronomyinthecity.php
 
Description BBC Stargazing live 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact many people visited stand

TV and radio coverage
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description BSF 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact press conference and pupil workshop

press coverage in BBC, Irish time
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Big Bang Fair 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact hundreds of pupils attended

-
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description British Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact people visited exhibition

press conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Cavalcando le onde gravitazionali a caccia di buchi neri e chissa' cos'altro 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Many questions and requests for further discussion and participation to events
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.mantovascienza.it/2017/09/15/cavalcando-le-onde-gravitazionali-a-caccia-di-buchi-neri-e-c...
 
Description Educational computer games 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Development of two completely new computer games (Black Hole Pong) and gravitational wave detection (Space Time Quest). In the first year after its release Space Time Quest achieved 10,000 downloads and Black Hole Pong close to 5000

The games have been used internationally at many science fairs and events and are always a focal point especially for younger children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
URL http://www.gwoptics.org/processing/space_time_quest/
 
Description Founder and editor on chief of the LIGO Magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A new magazine was founded in 2012 to cover the activities of the 900 scientists strong LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The magazine's prime audience is the collaboration itself. However, we chose to provide a professionally produced and layouted magazine so that members of the public and policy makes can be targeted as well. So far the magazine has been downloaded more than 10000 times. The magazine was founded by Prof Andreas Freise, who has been editor in chief until 2017, Hannah Middletos is deputy editor in chief. Several individual contributions from the Birmingham group have been published in the magazine over the years.

We received several commendation from policy makes and external scientists alike on the professional image that the magazine conveys about our collaboration. However, a detailed impact analysis has not been done.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.ligo.org/magazine/
 
Description Girls in STEM, University of Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Organising and hosting a 'Grabitational Waves Workshop' for the Girls in STEM day at the University of Birmingham. Classes from two local school attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Gravity Fields Festival, Grantham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Workshop at the national Gravity Fields Festival in Grantham on the gravitiational wave astronomy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.gravityfields.co.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10447
 
Description Institute of Physics public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact sparked questions and discussion and increased interest in related subject areas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact spark questions and discussion afterwards

received requests for more sessions like this and to visit research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Public talk for Walsall Astronomical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact about 50 people attended the talk which sparked discussion and other talks were requested
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public talk for the Association for Science Education annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact lively discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Raddical Sabbatical, Sarah Farmer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A new collaboration with an artist in residence, Sarah Farmer, at the University of Birmingham. The aim of the collaboration is to explore artistic explression related to the research effort around gravtiational wave astronomy. This activity has just started.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Wordls Collide, collaboration with Leaon Trimble 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact New collaboration wth audio-visual artist Leon Trimble. The aim of the collaboration is to explore artistic explression related to the research effort around gravtiational wave astronomy, in particular the visualisation and sonification of simulated and real gravitational wave detector activity and performance with cello, modular synthesiser and 360deg projection. This project has just started.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description astrostatistics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact sparked questions and discussion afterwards

received requests for more discussions in this area
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description public talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact between 10 and 100 people attended events

received requests from other organisations to give talks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011
 
Description visit of Andrew Cohen, head of BBC science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact discussed research with Andrew Cohen, head of BBC science

-
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description visit of David Willets 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact showed lab and activities

-
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012