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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 14 Apr 2004

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Dr David M. Coward

(Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy, University of Western Australia)

Overview of Gravitational Wave Research in Western Australia - Dr David M. Coward Colloquium

A worldwide effort to detect gravitational waves is currently underway.
If successful,
it will open a new window to probe the cosmos. To assure detection of
astrophysical gravitational waves at practical event rates requires an
improvement in the strain sensitivity of current detectors by an order of
magnitude and an increase in laser power by several orders of magnitude.
An essential part of this effort is being carried out in Australia
by the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy
(ACIGA), with research teams
working at the Australian National University, University of Western
Australia, University of Adelaide,
along with many international collaborators. ACIGA is developing
ultra-stable high-power continuous-wave lasers for the next generation
interferometric gravitational wave detectors; researching the problems
associated with high optical power in resonant cavities; opening
frontiers in advanced interferometry configurations, quantum optics, and
signal extraction; and developing high-performance vibration isolation.
ACIGA has also been active in theoretical research and modelling of
potential astrophysical gravitational wave sources, and in developing
data analysis detection algorithms. ACIGA has opened a research facility
at Gingin north of Perth, Western Australia, which will be the
culmination of these efforts. The research facility is co-located with a
public astronomy observatory and a science education center.

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