Prototype beam splitter for the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (aLIGO)

Made:
2008 (prototype) in Chilton
maker:
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Full
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail view,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Full view,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail image,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. 3/4 detail
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail view of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail view.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail view.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail view of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Detail image
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Cropped detail
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Prototype suspension system for Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) gravitational wave detector with dummy metal test masses. Made by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, England, 2007-2008.

Faint ripples are pulsing through the universe. Caused by violent cosmic events, they are gravitational waves. Albert Einstein predicted their existence in 1916, but he doubted we would ever find them. One hundred years on, a gravitational wave was detected on Earth for the first time, picked up by the LIGO experiment in the USA. You are looking at part of the technology that made this historic moment possible. LIGO’s discovery won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Studying gravitational waves has already begun torevolutionise astronomy, from probing black holes to uncovering the origin of gold.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is an international collaboration, based at two sites in the USA. The LIGO experiment works by splitting a laser beam down two 4 km tunnels. and looks for changes in these beams to detect gravitational waves. The beams are then recombined, at which point scientists look for changes in the lengths of the beams that may be caused by a passing gravitational wave. The waves detected by the LIGO team in September 2015 originated from a collision between two black holes 1.3 billion light years away.

LIGO's hardware was upgraded between 2008 and 2015. Dubbed Advanced LIGO (or aLIGO), it had become one of the most sensitive experiments ever constructed. The technology that splits aLIGO’s laser beam was developed at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. This is a prototype of that technology.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
L2009-4054
type:
instrument component
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
  • component - object
credit:
On loan from Science & Technology Facilities Council
status:
Loan

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.