Author at The Secrets of the Universe, I am a science student from India. I am deeply interested in Astronomy, Classical Mechanics and Vortex Mathematics.
It was back in 2015 when we proved the existence of Gravitational waves. Fast forward that to 4 years, we have only managed to find around 10 more such signals using the combined strength of all facilities around the world. Much of these signals come from gigantic events like mergers of two black holes, much much larger than our sun. So the question is, what's stopping us from discovering more of these signals? Like, there are a million other sources? So to have all your questions answered, keep reading!
Coming over to the major problem, to detect these signals, researchers need to build gigantic L-shaped structures, with each arm spanning over a distance of 4 km. Not only this adds to the cost, but it also results in loss of signals from a higher frequency. As per the researchers' speculation, these "lost" signals originate from primordial black holes and axions. These signals are so small that they cannot be detected from conventional detectors like LIGO. To solve this issue, a group of physicists from Northwestern University has come up with a plan for a new detector. The detector only accounts for arm size of 1 meter, enough to fit a standard lab table, which, if successful, can open up a lot of possibilities for deeper exploration of the cosmos.
The project is called the Levitated Sensor Detector (LSD), with a shape similar to LIGO detectors, but much smaller. Unlike LIGO, the new detector will track particles within its arms floating due to radiation pressure, which can only be moved by gravitational waves. The project has currently secured a funding of $1 M from the Keck Foundation.
If you think of gravitational waves like sound waves, the frequency we are trying to capture with levitated sensors is sort of like a dog whistle.”Vicky Kalogera
As far as the current plan goes, researchers intend to spend 3 years developing and testing the prototype. Once it's successful, the findings shall be made public. No One knows how far this project might take us in the field of science. Just imagine what an array of such detectors might be able to accomplish! Perhaps the discovery of hypothetical axions? Or a deeper glimpse into understanding the laws of nature? Well, that's a topic for another article!