Institut Fresnel joins the VIRGO Collaboration

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Extreme optical instrumentation for the detection of gravitational waves

Institut Fresnel joins the VIRGO Collaboration, Extreme optical instrumentation for the detection of gravitational “waves

VIRGO is a giant laser interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves. VIRGO has been designed and built by a collaboration between the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN).
The Virgo Collaboration works on the realization and operation of the Virgo gravitational wave detector, hosted by the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) at Cascina (near Pisa, Italy). Today, there are more than 700 Members in the Virgo Collaboration, representing 129 Institutions in 16 different countries i.e an international collaboration of scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary.

The aim now is to extend the range of the detectors to see ever more distant and older events. To do this, the optical performance of interferometers must be pushed to the extreme. It is now clear that one of the main factors limiting the performance of the next generation of gravitational wave detectors is the light scattered by the optical components present in the instrument Although minimal, scattering causes stray light and residual phase noise on the detected signals that are critical to the performance targets.

For more than 30 years, the Institut Fresnel has been developing an internationally recognized expertise in the metrology and modelling of light scattering phenomena, with a particular interest in advanced optical components. Indeed, the CONCEPT Team and the DIFFUSIF technological platform of Aix-Marseille have become a reference center for space agencies and different players in space and precision optics. Our researchers joined the Virgo collaboration and became a full member in July 2022.

Fusion de 2 trous noirs – Vision d’artiste

 See Website of VIRGO :

 Contact at Institut Fresnel : Myriam ZERRAD - myriam.zerrad@fresnel