Currently, all existing gravitational-wave detectors are ground-based Michelson-type laser interferometers. The AEI is part of an international collaboration which runs the existing detectors: GEO600, the Virgo detector, and the LIGO detectors. The AEI laboratories house various experiments in this area. The institute also develops design concepts for future ground-based dectectors like the Einstein Telescope and tests new technologies using a small-scale prototype.
The Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) detector will eventually be more than ten times more sensitive, and over a much broader frequency band, than initial LIGO. In the first observation rund “O1” it was about four times more sensitive than initial LIGO. The AEI is a partner in the aLIGO project and contributes the pre-stabilized laser system for all aLIGO detectors. Furthermore AEI scientists are involved in the commissioning and operation of the aLIGO interferometers.