On February 11, 2016, the LIGO-VIRGO community announced during a press conference in Washington (USA) and in Cascina
(Italy, Advanced Virgo site) the FIRST DIRECT DETECTION of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole
merger. This achievement marks the start of new astronomy based on gravitational waves. More details are available in the
publication accepted by Physical Review Letters.
LMA has made a major contribution to this discovery by having coated the large mirrors of the Fabry-Perot arm cavities
(diameter 34 cm, thickness 20 cm, 40 kg) of the two Advanced LIGO interferometers. This is the outcome of nearly five
years of work.
The Laboratoire des Matériaux Avancés (LMA) is an USR (Unité de Service et de Recherche n°3264) from CNRS.
The laboratory is specialized in the study, the realization (several
deposition systems) and the characterization (optical and mechanical
means) of thin films realized by several under vacuum deposition processes (CVD, PVD). These layers are
used for optical applications (low-loss mirrors for gyrolaser or interferometers, antireflective coatings,
dichroic ...) and mechanical applications (rain erosion resistance, corrosion resistance). The LMA is particularly
involved in the Franco-Italian program VIRGO
(VIRGO mirrors realized by the LMA)
and in the american program Advanced LIGO.
LMA has coated the 20 new large mirrors for the american interferometers
(Input Mirrors and End Mirrors diameter 340 mm, thickness 200 mm).
The eight mirrors necessary to the two Advanced LIGO interferometers were produced successfully and were installed in 2014.
ITM mirror coated at LMA and suspended in the Advanced LIGO interferometer (credit : Advanced LIGO)
Moreover, following the approval of the project ADVANCED VIRGO by CNRS and INFN,
LMA is in charge of the "MIRRORS" sub-system and of the "OSD" (Optical Simulation and Design) sub-system.
The new mirror generation has been produced. All the mirrors have been suspended and installed in the towers at Cascina (photo below).
Advanced Virgo beam splitter suspended in the interferometer tower (credit : M. Perciballi, red color = coating protective film)
The LMA is also invloved in a European project ET (Einstein Telescope).
The Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) has financed two projects in which the LMA is involved. The first one (EXSQUEEZ, Squeezing and optomechanics) is done in collaboration
with the Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (Paris).
The second project financed by the ANR for 4 years (2015-2018) ( BMV ,
Biréfringence Magnétique du Vide)is done in collaboration le Laboratoire des Champs Magnétiques Intenses de Toulouse (Pr Carlo RIZZO).
We are working with the LNCMI for many years on this subject. For example, a high finesse cavity (529 000) was realized.
With three IN2P3 labs (LPNHE, LAL, LPSC), the LMA is involved in the LSST
project (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) whose aim is to construct a large telescope.
The LMA is in charge of the optical metrology of the six large pass-band filters (76 cm in diameter) (wavelength domain between 330 nm and 1070 nm).
To do so an optical bench coupled to a Lambda 1050 spectrophotometer is in construction.