Self-organized hexagons in light transmitted by an ensemble of cold Rb atoms in presence of feedback by a plane mirror
Self-organized hexagons in light transmitted by an ensemble of cold Rb atoms in presence of feedback by a plane mirror. Credits: Pedro Gomes, Ivor Kresic, Paul Griffin, Aidan Arnold, Thorsten Ackemann, Experimental Quantum Optics and Photonics Group, University of Strathclyde

An international team of scientists have today announced the first-ever detection of gravitational waves. The discovery confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, and was made possible by British and German advances in technology.

“This is a monumental leap forward for physics and astrophysics – taking Einstein’s predictions and turning them into an entirely new way to sense some of the most fascinating objects in our Universe,” said Professor Sheila Rowan, Director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute for Gravitational Research, and a member of the discovery team.

 The gravitational waves were detected on 14 September 2015 at 09:51 UK time by both LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detectors in Louisiana and Washington state in the US. They originated from two black holes, each around 30 times the mass of the Sun and located more than 1.3 billion light years from Earth, coalescing to form a single, even more massive black hole.

The image shows a numerical-relativistc simulation created by the SXS (Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes) project.

 

Concept of the grating chip Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT)
Concept of the grating chip Magneto-Optical Trap (MOT). For more details see DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2013.47 Credits: Aidan Arnold and collaborators, University of Strathclyde.
Magnetic structure imaged with a low temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope. The insert shows the atomic scale magnetic structure
Magnetic structure imaged with a low temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope. The insert shows the atomic scale magnetic structure.
 
PhD student Peter Kremer of the Quantum Photonics Lab operates a state-of-the-art electron beam lithography system to fabricate photonic structures with embedded quantum dots.
PhD student Peter Kremer of the Quantum Photonics Lab operates a state-of-the-art electron beam lithography system to fabricate photonic structures with embedded quantum dots.
PhD students Rima Al-Khuzheyri and Peter Kremer of the HWU Quantum Photonics Lab assemble a custom-built cryostat
PhD students Rima Al-Khuzheyri and Peter Kremer of the HWU Quantum Photonics Lab assemble a custom-built cryostat.
270° panorama of Glasgow 10m prototype lab and the ERC Speed-Meter experiment (vacuum tanks on the left).
270° panorama of Glasgow 10m prototype lab and the ERC Speed-Meter experiment (vacuum tanks on the left).
First fringes of the 1m in-air test Sagnac interferometer
First fringes of the 1m in-air test Sagnac interferometer
Control room of Glasgow 10m interferometer.
Control room of Glasgow 10m interferometer.