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The Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy Division

The scientists of the Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy division play a globally leading role in developing cutting-edge technologies for gravitational wave observatories. Together with UK colleagues they operate the gravitational-wave detector GEO600. Many of the methods initially demonstrated at the AEI are now being used in the large observatories of the LIGO Scientific and Virgo Collaborations and have significantly increased their sensitivity.

The AEI is the worldwide leading research institution in the development of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a gravitational-wave observatory in space scheduled for launch in 2034. LISA will consist of three satellites spanning million kilometer long laser arms, enabling it to detect gravitational-wave signals from the entire Universe, maybe even from the Big Bang.

The laser interferometry developed for gravitational wave detectors is now being used for the Earth’s benefit. The German-US GRACE Follow-On mission will observe changes in the water supplies of our planet by monitoring the Earth’s gravitational field. The AEI is the German lead of the Laser Ranging Interferometer on board of GRACE Follow-On.

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