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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Hang Yu
  • Salvatore Vitale
  • Matthew Evans
  • Bryan Barr
  • Katherine L. Dooley
  • Paul Fulda
  • Hartmut Grote
  • James Hough
  • Sabina Huttner
  • Conor Mow-Lowry
  • Sheila Rowan
  • David Shoemaker
  • Daniel Sigg
  • Borja Sorazu

Colleges, School and Institutes


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.

Bibliographic note

5 pages, 6 figures


Original languageEnglish
Article number141102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2018


  • astro-ph.IM, astro-ph.HE, gr-qc