Space-based gravitational wave observatories

Our group contributes to various aspects of the development of the laser-interferometric measurement system for LISA, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. The era of Gravitational-Wave and Multi-Messenger Astronomy has started with the direct observations of gravitational waves by LIGO and VIRGO, and the detection of their corresponding electromagnetic counterparts.

It is planned to launch a laser interferometric gravitational wave observatory in space, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), which is a mission led by the European Space Agency (ESA). Critical technologies for the realization of LISA was successfully tested by LISA Pathfinder with outstanding results.

LISA will operate in the frequency range between 0.1 mHz to 100 mHz, thus complementing the observations from the ground-based observatories, LIGO and VIRGO.

LISA is a constellation of three identical spacecraft separated by 2.5 million kilometers, flying free-falling test masses that will be slightly moving at the pass of gravitational waves. The motion of these test masses will be measured by highly sensitive laser interferometers with sensitivities in the range of a few pm/√Hz.

LISA constellation orbiting trailing the Earth in its orbit around the Sun. © AEI