Installation of a worldwide unique technology in the German-British gravitational wave observatory GEO600 is documented in a video diary

The first series will start on 06.16.2009 at 11 a.m. during the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Launch Luncheon, Wissenschaftsforum Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany presented by the President of the DFG, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Kleiner

June 10, 2009

A new series presented by DFG Science TV under the title “The wave hunters – do Einstein’s gravitational waves ripple through the universe?” will be launched soon. It deals with the installation of a unique technology into the German-British Gravitational Wave Observatory GEO600. Scientists from the QUEST Excellence Cluster are involved. They accompany the exciting path of “sqeezed light” from the realm of laboratory experiments into the real-life environment of the GEO600 detector.

The trailer for the video diary can already be viewed on

The QUEST junior scientists Dr. Henning Vahlbruch and Alexander Khalaidovski of the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover and their research work are the focus of a film project that will soon be on the Internet TV portal of the German Research Association. What is special is that the scientists take the camera into their own hands. For three months, they will be reporting week by week in short three-minute films about their research project concerning how to squeeze light in order to measure miniscule changes in length with a precision that is unique world-wide.

In their video notebook, Henning Vahlbruch and Alexander Khalaidovski will be explaining why gravitational waves are so exciting, as well as attempts to measure them and how they and their colleagues at AEI have developed the method of squeezed light that is now being tested. Above all, they tell the story of their work, of the obstacles they encounter and the successes they achieve. They will be reporting during a trip to the USA and on experimental developments at the laboratory of the GEO600 observatory in Ruthe. If the incorporation of the new technology into the gravitational wave detector is successful, then GEO600, one of the most sensitive measuring instruments in the world, would be significantly improved in its measuring accuracy.

The two junior scientists will be followed on camera with the help of young colleagues from the Group of Prof. Roman Schnabel of the AEI. Michael Britzger, Tobias Westphal, Henning Ryll and Tobias Vockeroth (QUEST) have taken over the roles of director, camera and sound engineers.

They learned the basics for this undertaking at a DFG workshop. Since the end of April, they have been observing the scientific work from an unusual perspective.

Henning Vahlbruch and Alexander Khalaidovski are close to completing their research work on so-called “squeezed light”. Their work will constitute an important milestone in improving the sensitivity of the GEO600 Gravitational Wave Detector.

Together with their colleagues at AEI, they are preparing to be the first research group in the world to incorporate quantum-optical experiments with “squeezed light” in GEO600. For the first time quantum physics, which deals with the smallest of particles, will be used to explore the greatest expanse of all, the universe.

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