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Experimental Gravitation

The research activity of the Experimental Gravitation Laboratory is mainly devoted to experiments aimed to the detection of gravitational waves. The group contributes to the development, realization and operation of gravitational wave detectors, both ground-based and space-borne.

Space-Born antenna

Design of the ESA/NASA space interferometer LISA and development of key technology (Inertial Sensors). Design of the LISA in-flight technology demonstrator LTP (LISA Technology Package) to be flown on SMART-2 space mission for which the group has Principal Investigator responsibility (LISA Technology Package Architect) under contract of the European Space Agency.

LISA (Laser Interferometric Space Antenna)
  • Development and prototype construction of an inertial sensor for LISA and for the related technology demonstration mission. (ESA/ASI/INFN contracts)
  • Construction and operation of a torsion pendulum based facility for testing on ground of sensor performances.(ESA/ASI/INFN contracts)
  • Development of electrostatic low frequency suspension system (ESA/ASI/INFN contracts)
  • Responsibility (LISA Technology Package Architect) for the LTP (LISA Technology Package), and the LISA technology demonstrator to be flown on SMART-2 space mission. (ESA contract)
  • Design of the entire LISA mission as members of the LISA International Science Team (NASA/ESA) and of its core design body (Observatory Architecture Team)


Ground-based interferometers

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo have recently opened a new window for astronomy by detecting gravitational-waves from coalescing black holes and from neutron star merger. The LIGO/Virgo Scientific Collaboration is exploring ways to increase range and sensitivity by applying promising new techniques for current and next generation gravitational-wave detectors.

Advanced Virgo (http://www.virgo-gw.eu)

Experimental activities
A technique to increase the sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors is the squeezed light technology, which will reduce quantum noise that is the ultimate limiting noise source for gravitational wave detectors. The achievement will be possible only when the interferometer presents low losses for the laser light. Mode mismatch between optical cavities in Virgo and LIGO cause losses that limit the potential benefit of future upgrades like squeezing and for future generation of gravitational wave detectors, i.e. Einstein Telescope (ET).

  • Development of an adaptive optic system to improve the coupling among optical cavities (mode matching);
  • Development of mode matching sensing system;
  • Design and study of the controls for all the optical cavities for Advanced Virgo;
  • Commissioning on the Virgo site.

For information please contact Dott. Antonio Perreca (antonio.perreca [at] unitn.it)

Data analysis activities
For information please contact Prof. Giovanni Andrea Prodi (giovanniandrea.prodi [at] unitn.it)

Einstein Telescope (http://www.et-gw.eu)

The next generation of gravitational wave detector is a challenging project aimed to detect gravitational waves with a high rate of detection using the experience and improving the technologies gained from the successful research made by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. A gravitational wave observatory will be created. University of Trento will be involved in the design and study of the Einstein Telescope which constructions will starts in the next few years.

  • Study of the sensitivity for different layout;
  • Study and design of filter cavities (layout and controls)
  • Study and design mode matching among cavities and sensing system

Science case:

  • Study of formation and evolution of binary systems;

For information please contact Dott. Antonio Perreca (antonio.perreca [at] unitn.it) and/or Prof. Giovanni Andrea Prodi (giovanniandrea.prodi [at] unitn.it)


Group members

Head Stefano Vitale
Professors  Rita DolesiGiovanni Andrea ProdiWilliam Joseph Weber
Researchers Antonio PerrecaDaniele Vetrugno
Postdocs Gibert FerranValerio FerroniGiuliana Russano
PhD students Eleonora CastelliDavide Dal BoscoMatteo Di GiovanniAndrea GrimaldiAndrea MianiMartina MuratoreMichele Valentini
Technical staff Renato Mezzena
Administrative staff Karine Frisinghelli