History of the Institute

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The history of the AEI in Hannover

The Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover is a close cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover and the Institute for Gravitational Physics of the Leibniz Universität Hannover.

The AEI in Hannover originates from the Institute for Atom and Molecule Physics (AMP) of the Universität Hannover, which was established in 1979 by the Department of Physics. It included three sections: the Section of Spectroscopy, the Section of Plasmaphysics and the Section of Atomic Processes. The Section of Spectrocospy was a replacement of the former Institute for Experimental Physics A. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. A. Steudel the main research was focused on the spectroscopy of free atoms and molecules.

Since April 1, 1993 the director of the Section of Spectroscopy is Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann. He was appointed with the goal to create a centre of experimental gravitational physics in Hannover. From 1997 to 2001 Prof. Danzmann was also the director of the satellite station of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Hannover.

Starting January 1, 2002 the AMP was established as a division of the newly founded Centre for Gravitational Physics. The other part of the centre consist of the also newly founded Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover (Albert Einstein Institute; AEI). The work of AEI Hannover is focused on the experimental side of gravitational wave detection and the data analysis methods. The work of AEI in Potsdam concentrates on the theoretical aspects of gravitation and the mathematical framework of Einstein's general theory of relativity.

The research of the AEI Hannover is concerned with problems of quantum physics (coherent effects, white-light resonators, squeezed light, gain without inversion, Heisenberg limit), control electronic (high-stability laser systems, active damping of oscillations, adaptive optics) and gravitational physics (further development of the GEO600 gravitational wave detector, asessment of its sensitivity, and analysis of its data).

Researchers at the AEI Hannover are also developing new methods to extract  weak signals from the data streams of gravitational wave detectors. Since 2007 the department of the director Prof. Dr. Bruce Allen develops methods to search for many different gravitational wave signals and implements these methods on powerful supercomputers. This includes burst, stochastic, and inspiral signals in data from ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Continuous-wave signal searches are the focus of a permanent independent research group.

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