Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry
(Ground and Space)

Update available: http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2011-5

Sheila Rowan  
Ginzton Laboratory
Stanford University
Stanford CA 94305-4085

and
Jim Hough  
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, U.K.

Abstract

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free craft in space. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems being built around the world – LIGO (U.S.A.), VIRGO (Italy/France), TAMA 300 (Japan) and GEO 600 (Germany/U.K.) – and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer.


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