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Projects and studies

Part of the preparations and R&D for the Einstein Telescope is done through projects in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

ETpathfinder: R&D lab for gravitational wave detectors

ETpathfinder will be a testing ground for gravitational wave detector technology in Maastricht. There will be a complete laser interferometer, which will make it possible to test different set-ups and the interplay between different subsystems. In this way ETpathfinder contributes to the development of better and new technologies.

E-TEST: subsurface studies and prototype of a large silicon mirror

The E-TEST project consists of two main parts: subsurface studies and the development of a prototype of an innovative silicon mirror in Liège. The geological and seismic studies will allow researchers to better understand the subsurface of the region, and to find out where the underground Einstein Telescope could be located. The innovative deep-cooled silicon mirror will help the Einstein Telescope achieve the desired sensitivity.

ET2SMEs: for more involvement of SMEs

The Einstein Telescope and facilities such as ETpathfinder and E-TEST provide opportunities for companies.  But how can SMEs in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine benefit as much as possible? The ET2SMEs project identifies the opportunities and contributes to the necessary pre-financing through vouchers.

ET Technologies

The ET Technologies project covers various aspects. Within this project, researchers and companies work on specific technologies for the Einstein Telescope, geological research and spin-off of technology to other sectors. The project focuses on the Netherlands and complements other research and work within ETpathfinder, E-TEST and ET2SMEs. One of the subprojects focuses on the sustainability of the construction and operation of the Einstein Telescope.

Gravitational waves: The new cosmic messengers

This project contributes to the improvement of the existing Virgo gravitational wave observatory in Pisa. At the same time, parts of this project also serve as R&D for the Einstein Telescope. These include the development and testing of instrumentation and software to compensate for Newtonian Noise, the realisation of a mirror with a diameter of 60 cm and the development of a system for frequency dependent squeezing. All these developments will ensure better and more detections of gravitational wave signals.

Gravitational waves: a new road to fundamental physics, astrophysics, and cosmology

How do you get better and smarter control techniques? And what can we learn about the subsurface of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine? Within this project, a number of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers are working on this. Besides innovations for the Einstein Telescope, this project also partly focuses on the data analysis and data interpretation of existing gravitational wave detectors.

Dutch Black Hole consortium

This is a broad interdisciplinary project in the Netherlands that contributes to the study of black holes in various ways. For example, part of the project is about research with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), and about improving the existing gravitational wave detector Virgo. Some parts of the project are about the Einstein Telescope, and contribute to geological research, mirror innovation and outreach.

Third Generation Gravitational Wave Telescope

In this project, 14 German universities are joining forces to work on technology for third generation gravitational wave detectors, including the Einstein Telescope. The project works on, among other things, the measurement of seismic disturbances and the development of crystalline fibres to support the large mirrors. The funding is part of a larger programme that supports large-scale experiments in astroparticle physics in Germany.

Exploring the dark universe with gravitational waves: from quantum optics to quantum gravitation

Four Flemish universities combine their expertise in this project, which forms the Flemish Gravitational Waves Consortium. Their expertise comes together in the fields of theory, astrophysics, data analysis and instrumentation. This relates to existing detectors as well as future gravitational wave observatories including the Einstein Telescope. The research focuses on three themes: precision testing of Einstein’s theory of gravity, cosmology of the early universe and the synthesis and population of stars. The R&D activities in this project contribute to mirrors & coatings, cryogenic electronics and optical design & control.

SILENT : Seismic isolation of the Einstein Telescope

Measuring gravitational waves remains a challenge, because the seismic activity of the earth itself can interfere with the signal. In the SILENT (Seismic IsoLation of EinsteiN Telescope) project, researchers are working on an incredibly stable platform that ‘floats in space’ and special sensors that can help distinguish the gravitational wave signal from noise. To achieve this, three important innovations will be combined: new optical inertial sensors, special efficient control systems and direct measurement of Newtonian noise.

SUNRISE: development of superconducting actuators for vibration sensors and mirror suspension

The SUNRISE project develops a very precise cryogenic actuator made of niobium. This component is essential for the Einstein Telescope, as it is needed to achieve the desired sensitivity. Researchers are optimising the geometry and figuring out how best to manufacture this actuator.

Virgo: physics with gravitational waves

Within this project, a number of French-speaking universities in Belgium are working on data analysis, computing and instrumentation for gravitational wave detectors. This concerns existing detectors such as Virgo, but also the Einstein Telescope. During the analyses, the expansion of the computing grid and the development of phase cameras, researchers are already taking into account how this can be used for the Einstein Telescope.

Gravity: a new voyage of discovery

This is one of the ‘start-up impulses’ of the Dutch National Science Agenda (NWA) between 2018 and 2021. The project focuses on all kinds of different things that have something to do with gravity, and the Einstein Telescope is part of it. The project has already contributed to the establishment of a task force for the Einstein Telescope in the Netherlands, preparatory subsurface studies and phase cameras for future gravitational wave detectors.

Completed projects

Drilling and seismic measurements Terziet

In Terziet, a seismic sensor was installed after drilling to a depth of 250 metres. The first measurements at this depth in 2019 showed that the region seems ‘quiet enough’ for the Einstein Telescope.

Cost pilot study civil engineering Einstein Telescope

Initial study into the costs and duration of the drilling and excavation work for the Einstein Telescope. The results have been included in a cost book, which was part of the application to be included in the European Roadmap for Large Research Infrastructures (ESFRI-Roadmap). The Einstein Telescope has been included in the ESFRI Roadmap 2021.

Socio-economic impact study ELAt-region

In 2018, Technopolis Group studied the expected impact of the Einstein Telescope in the Eindhoven – Leuven-Aachen region. The study shows that hosting the Einstein Telescope is likely to have a positive impact on both the scientific position and the economy. According to this study, investing in the ETpathfinder R&D facility will certainly be beneficial, even if the Einstein Telescope does not come to this region.

Socio-economic impact study Walloon Region

In 2019, CIDE-SOCRAN and HEC Liège examined the expected impact of the Einstein Telescope in the region on the Walloon Region. The study also describes the conditions for making the most of the economic opportunities.