Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Quantum Opportunities in Gravitational Wave Detectors

Long ago predicted by Albert Einstein on the basis of general relativity, the existence of gravitational waves is still an active topic of research. Ripples in space time that may provide clues about the origins of our universe, gravitational waves are extremely weak and difficult to detect. Dr. Mavalvala's research is at the forefront of new detectors that are part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a major collaborative project operated by Caltech and MIT. Her work is revealing new insights about the role of quantum effects: the sensitivity of the upcoming generation of interferometric gravitational wave detectors is expected to be predominantly limited by quantum optical noise. Dr. Mavalvala will explore the origins of these quantum limits, and describe experimental progress toward circumventing them. 

Nergis Mavalvala,
Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Created September 19, 2014, Updated January 5, 2017