Prospects for detecting gravitational waves at 5 Hz with ground-based detectors

Hang Yu, Denis Martynov, Salvatore Vitale, Matthew Evans, Bryan Barr, Ludovico Carbone, Katherine L. Dooley, Andreas Freise, Paul Fulda, Hartmut Grote, Giles Hammond, Stefan Hild, James Hough, Sabina Huttner, Conor Mow-Lowry, Sheila Rowan, David Shoemaker, Daniel Sigg, Borja Sorazu

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We propose an upgrade of Advanced LIGO (aLIGO), named LIGO-LF, that focuses on improving the sensitivity in the 5-30 Hz low-frequency band, and we explore the upgrade's astrophysical applications. We present a comprehensive study of the detector's technical noises, and show that with the new technologies such as interferometrically-sensed seismometers and balanced-homodyne readout, LIGO-LF can reach the fundamental limits set by quantum and thermal noises down to 5 Hz. These technologies are also directly applicable to the future generation of detectors. LIGO-LF can observe a rich array of astrophysical sources such as binary black holes with total mass up to 2000 M_\odot. The horizon distance of a single LIGO-LF detector will be z ~ 6, greatly exceeding aLIGO's reach. Additionally, for a given source the chirp mass and total mass can be constrained 2 times better, and the effective spin 3-5 times better, than aLIGO. The total number of detected merging black holes will increase by a factor of 16 compared with aLIGO. Meanwhile, LIGO-LF will also significantly enhance the probability of detecting other astrophysical phenomena including the gravitational memory effects and the neutron star r-mode resonances.
Original languageEnglish
Article number141102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

5 pages, 6 figures


  • astro-ph.IM
  • astro-ph.HE
  • gr-qc


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