With the recent detection of gravitational waves by LIGO, the quest to further improve the astrophysical range and the detector's sensitivity is in full swing. At the ANU Centre for Gravitational Physics we have installed various hardware in the current LIGO detectors.
As part of the national ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) we want to continue to be at the forefront of instrumentation development to enhance the sensitivity of current and future gravitational wave detectors around the world.
Laser-interferometric gravitational wave detectors, such as those of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), are the most sensitive position meters yet made, able to measure length variations of order 10-19 m (or 1/10000th of the diameter of a hydrogen nucleus).
However, the LIGO interferometers are limited by quantum noise of the light itself, and the next-generation Advanced LIGO detectors are expected to be limited by quantum light noise across their entire measurement band. In the last decade, the injection of squeezed states of light has been established as a promising technique to reduce quantum noise, providing an opportunity to improve the detector sensitivity even further. The implementation of squeezed states creates technical challenges that need to be addressed.
The ANU Centre for Gravitational Physics is a key member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and continues to develop hardware and techniques for use at the LIGO observatories. We are a lead group in the Collaboration on the generation and implementation of squeezed light. We currently seek students at the Honours or Graduate level to join our dynamic group. Each project is tailored to the goals and abilities of the applicant. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact us to discuss potential research topics.
Find out more by following the Further Information link below, or by visiting the Centre for Gravitational Physics website
Experience with optics and lasers is a must, knowledge of quantum optics and computational skills (e.g. MATLAB) would be beneficial.