The US Program in Ground-Based Gravitational Wave Science: Contribution from the LIGO Laboratory

LIGO Scientific Collaboration

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Recent gravitational-wave observations from the LIGO and Virgo observatories have brought a sense of great excitement to scientists and citizens the world over. Since September 2015,10 binary black hole coalescences and one binary neutron star coalescence have been observed. They have provided remarkable, revolutionary insight into the "gravitational Universe" and have greatly extended the field of multi-messenger astronomy. At present, Advanced LIGO can see binary black hole coalescences out to redshift 0.6 and binary neutron star coalescences to redshift 0.05. This probes only a very small fraction of the volume of the observable Universe. However, current technologies can be extended to construct "$3^\mathrm{rd}$ Generation" (3G) gravitational-wave observatories that would extend our reach to the very edge of the observable Universe. The event rates over such a large volume would be in the hundreds of thousands per year (i.e.tens per hour). Such 3G detectors would have a 10-fold improvement in strain sensitivity over the current generation of instruments, yielding signal-to-noise ratios of 1000 for events like those already seen. Several concepts are being studied for which engineering studies and reliable cost estimates will be developed in the next 5 years.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2019

Publication series

PublisherCornell University, Ithaca, NY


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