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‘A great showcase for attracting new collaborations’

Serge Habraken is chairman of the executive committee of the Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL), which plays a crucial role in the E-TEST project, building prototypes for components of the future Einstein Telescope. We put five questions to him.

1. What is your role within the CSL and your involvement in the E-TEST project?

‘My role is mainly strategic and coordinating. Of course I am involved in the E-TEST project, but it is mainly Christophe Collette who manages the technical aspects, especially the suspension systems. My involvement is more focused on general management, partnerships with other entities and improving CSL’s skills in cryogenic and vacuum compatibility, including for mirrors.’

2. Can you tell us more about the E-TEST project?

‘The E-TEST project involves the design, starting in 2022, of a unique prototype mirror suspended in extreme cryogenic conditions (around -250°C), with the aim of developing advanced technologies for the vibration isolation of future gravity wave detectors for the Einstein Telescope.’

‘We need to demonstrate the benefits of the ET, such as increased economic activity and direct benefits for the local community.’

Serge Habraken, Centre Spatial de Liège
3. What strategic partnerships has CSL set up for this project?

‘We entered into an important partnership with AMOS for the development of test vessels and high-vacuum pump systems. In the field of cryogenic technology, we benefit from our own in-house expertise, especially for the design of piping and radiators. Another important partnership is with the University of Mons (UMons), which provides advanced expertise in sensors and fiber optics. Of course, future collaborations with other partners are being considered.’

4. What impact do you think this project will have on the wider region?

‘The potential impact is huge. As a member of the Federal Science Policy Council at Belspo, I have seen the importance of this project at different levels. We need to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits, such as increased economic activity and direct benefits to the local community. I see a positive impact on tourism. Why not also benefit from a visitor center to stimulate young people’s interest in research, science and technology?’

5. What is the future of the CSL in the context of the E-TEST project and beyond?

‘The CSL is following a development strategy, particularly with the new CRYSTAL laboratory. This laboratory, which is open to scientific and industrial partners, is a showcase for the CSL and offers tank rental and component development services in collaboration with industry. Now that the E-TEST project has proved its worth, our goal is to develop the CRYSTAL laboratory in our new building. It is a great showcase for attracting new collaborations and diversifying our customers outside ET. I think it is essential for manufacturers to find applications outside ET. An ideas workshop is planned in the coming months to help manufacturers explore technologies before ET is built.’

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