The case was the first announced recording of space-time oscillations — gravitational waves, reaching the Earth after a catastrophe that happened far in the Universe. That confirms a significant prediction made in the special theory of relativity made by Albert Einstein 1916 and enables a brand-newunprecedented understanding of space. “The scientific importance of that fact is immeasurable. Just as it was with electromagnetic waves, we will be able to realize its full meaning later,” says Valery Mitrofanov, the director of LIGO’s Moscow team. “LIGO Scientific Collaboration started in 1992, the time particularly difficult for our country, but Russia joined the project thanks to Vladimir Braginskiy, one of the pioneers in gravitational waves researching in the world. I would like to stress his merit of creation a school at the MSU Faculty of Physics, able to produce scientists that could participate in LIGO project and contribute significantly to the job of its large team. We hope that it inspires other the students of the MSU Faculty of Physics, since we have a range of new challenges awaiting decisions.”
“For the first time in the history of science the waves of spacetime curvature were recorded, this discovery starts a new era in astronomy,” – says professor Sergey Vyatchanin, professor of the MSU Faculty of Physics.
“This is an outstanding attainment that lays a way to a new research direction — gravitational wave astronomy. Only a large collaboration of scientists in an international project managed to conduct it,” says Igor Bilenko. “It is remarkable that the fundamental discoveries made by a great Russian scientist Vladimir Braginskiy and his colleagues, — quantum limits, methods of quantum measurements and quantum fluctuations, — were a significant contribution to the project.”
“A number of Russian researches influenced the decisions of LIGO. The Moscow team put its efforts to overcoming noises that prevent from finding effects that are rarely recorded and hence are difficult to discover. Though, they influence the detectors of LIGO significantly,” — says Leonid Prokhorov.
Russian Federation is represented in the LIGO collaboration by the two groups of scientists from the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University and from the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The group from Moscow was founded and lead by Professor Vladimir Braginsky, the world-famous scientist, one of the pioneers of gravitational-wave research.
The research group, incorporated in the number of scientific discovery collaborators, includes members of the Chair of Physics of Oscillations Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University: professors Valery Mitrofanov (the head of the group), Igor Bilenko, Sergey Vyatchanin, Michael Gorodetsky, Farit Khalili, assistant professor Sergey Strigin and assistant Leonid Prokhorov. An invaluable contribution to the research made by students, graduate students and technical staff of the Chair of Physics of Oscillations.
The group from the Lomonosov Moscow State University is involved in the project since 1992. From the very beginning, the main efforts were directed at improving the sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors, determining the fundamental quantum and thermodynamic sensitivity constraints and at developing the new measurement methods. Theoretical and experimental research, conducted by the Russian scientists, weas embodied in creating a new generation of detectors, which allowed to directly observe the gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes.
During the work the group as a part of the LIGO collaboration produced the results of fundamental importance, which could be applied not only for the search for the gravitational waves, but also for the whole physics itself:
Unique suspension test masses were made of fused silica. The measured decay time of pendulum oscillation test mass was amounted to about 5 years. It was demonstrated experimentally, that there are no mechanical noises, previously detected in the steel filaments, in redundant quartz suspensions.
The noise, associated with electric charges located on the quartz mirrors detectors, was studied in detail. n A new class of fundamental thermodynamic noise was found in the detector in the mirror. Its analysis led to a significant change in the current optical configuration of the LIGO.
The research pointed out the danger of parametric instability effect of the interferometer, which was later found in the LIGO detector. The methods for its prevention were provided.
Qualitatively new topology of the optical system of gravity-wave detectors, based on the principles of quantum measurement theory, were proposed and analyzed. The developed methods should improve the sensitivity of the next generation detectors and contribute to the development of gravitational-wave astronomy.