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India, which has begun the process of setting up advanced gravitational wave (GWs) detectors, will host the most advanced instruments, the first the world has seen so far, Kip Thorne Nobel Laureate and co-founder of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) told to media on Wednesday. The country has already shortlisted three sites for the GWs detectors project. Two generations of instruments are being used by the LIGO project until now. By 2025, when India hopes to have its detectors up and running, it will have the third generation of instruments built in with the detectors for the first time, Thorne said.
“While the primary reason we came to India was for localisation of black hole or neutron star mergers (to find the precise location of the source in the sky) given the country’s geographic location on earth, it will now also host the most advanced instruments when the detectors go online in 2025,” Thorne said.
Thorne revealed Indian scientists have made significant contributions to two sides of the project — data analytics and in understanding the shape of the waves — and claimed that it could see India become a full player along with US and Europe in the experimental side of detecting gravitational waves. Pointing out that there are great opportunities for India on the technology front, Thorne said that by 2025, Indians will be required to monitor the motions of mirrors, which are 40kg, with such enormous accuracy that they receive the information.
“Such quantum non-demolition technology which can observe and monitor wiggling mirrors of this size using quantum computing will see Indians also contribute to the experimental side,” he said. “Never before have humans seen human size objects fluctuate because of quantum physics. And when this new piece of quantum information science is happening for the first time, it will be built into INDIGO’s (India Ligo) instruments. This will be a first.”
One senior scientist working with India LIGO (IndIGO) said that it will require the team to keep the mirrors as quiet as possible so that it can see GWs. This is a great challenge since effects of quantum mechanics have been observed only on small particles (atoms and molecules) so far.
Bala Iyer, who heads IndIGO, said: “The most accurate thing to say is that our detectors would be on a par with those in the US. Yes, we would have the best, but it may not be right to say that it would be better than the US as by the time we have our detectors running the LIGO ones in the US too will be as advanced.”
LIGO executive director David Reitze had told to media last week that the LIGO team is hoping to make the detectors more sensitive to be able to hear and see farther than they now can and that the ones in India will play a major role.
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