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LIGO Gets Upgraded As Well As Gets Quantum

The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or (LIGO) is expected to get upgraded as per a recent announcement by its scientists that could let them catch a new gravitational wave every day. The $35 million upgrade will enable LIGO to work with quantum techniques that could enhance its current tally of 11 gravitational wave events on an average within a week. This announcement was made by researchers from LIGO at a news conference of American Association for advancement of Science. After completing its up- gradation that is likely to last till 2024, the new instrument will be rechristened as Advanced LIGO Plus which will use the quantum rule of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle that will improve its ability to trace ripples in space-time.

In the new setting at both the detectors of this observatory located in Livingston, LA and the other in Hanford, Washington laser lights bounce back and forth across two long arms arranged in L shape that are 4 kilometers long. To determine pass of a gravitational wave scientists measure the brightness of light where arms meet and beams recombine.  But this design too could made it difficult to pick up subtle signals of gravitational wave so in the next operational round during April researchers will use quantum “squeezed” light wherein the fluctuations of light’s phase are decreased.

This new technique of quantum will help LIGO to capture high frequencies waves or ripples which would have a high pitch if they could be converted into sound. According to Prof Michael Zucker of MIT LIGO lab this technique is exciting but it makes it difficult to measure low frequency gravitational waves. In the Advanced LIGO Plus a new system using best of both techniques will be applied in which light will be squeezed along a path for creation of low frequency ripples while along the other side high frequency signals are sent which improve the machine’s overall performance.

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