Gravitational Wave Detectors
The first direct measurement of gravitational waves occurred on September 14, 2015, one century after Albert Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity. Since then, about 90 gravitational-wave sources have been detected by the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA collaboration. Detecting these minute spacetime fluctuations requires an accurate interferometric measurement of the kilometer-scale distance that separates mirrors used as test masses in free fall. Current leading detector sensitivity is at the level of one part in 1021 or better, with a dynamic extension of more than twelve orders of magnitude. The exploration of the gravitational Universe is now underway, current ground-based gravitational wave detectors are approaching their full potential, and third generation interferometers are now being designed. Ground-based gravitational wave detectors LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA rely on key leading technologies. This Special Topic collection of papers illustrates the present and possibly future contribution of many different fields of physics to the detection of gravitational waves with Earth-bound detectors.
Guest Editors: David McClelland, Matteo Barsuglia, Sheila Rowan, and Jess McIver