Gravitational Waves Detected With Help From Quartz Glass

Gravitational waves detected with help from high-purity quartz glass: The optical components of the instruments, which are essential for the measurements in the gravitational detectors, contain Heraeus Suprasil 3001 (Source: Heraeus)

Gravitational waves detected with help from high-purity quartz glass: The optical components of the instruments, which are essential for the measurements in the gravitational detectors, contain Heraeus Suprasil 3001 (Source: Heraeus)

Quartz glass from Heraeus played a special role in the LIGO experiments, which used gravitational wave detectors to investigate one implication of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Gravitational waves – “wrinkles” in the spacetime continuum – are emitted by distant astrophysical events such as supernovas, neutron stars and black holes. Gravitational wave detectors utilize highly sensitive optical interferometers with perpendicular arms 4 km long. They function as a photon reservoir and contain quartz glass with extremely high transmission values and optical homogeneity. The optical components of the instruments, which are essential for the measurements, contain Heraeus Suprasil 3001. “We have greatly improved the absorption in our quartz glass, thereby making a significant contribution to improving the instrument’s sensitivity. This makes the gravitational wave detector extremely sensitive,” says Ralf Takke, Vice President Optics at Heraeus Quarzglas. These antennas have now detected exceedingly rare evidence of gravitational waves.

Ralf Takke, Vice President Optics at Heraeus Quarzglas, has been working with quartz glass for over 30 years: “We have greatly improved the absorption in our quartz glass, thereby making a significant contribution to improving the instrument’s sensitivity.” (Source: Heraeus)

Ralf Takke, Vice President Optics at Heraeus Quarzglas, has been working with quartz glass for over 30 years: “We have greatly improved the absorption in our quartz glass, thereby making a significant contribution to improving the instrument’s sensitivity.” (Source: Heraeus)

“For projects such as the LIGO experiment, we often have to stretch the very limits of what is technically feasible,” states Takke. “We constantly use these special assignments and technological challenges to build in-house know-how and expand our expertise in manufacturing precision, high-performance quartz glass,” explained the quartz glass expert.

Suprasil 3001 is optically isotropic, highly homogenous and suited primarily for manufacturing multidimensional optics such as prisms, extremely curved lenses, beam splitters, beam controlling systems and retro reflectors. For these reasons, this type of quartz glass is best suited for high-energy lasers that operate in the near infrared range. Everyday applications include diode lasers in the field of medical technology, materials processing and spectroscopic optics. (Source: Heraeus)

Link: Heraeus Quarzglas GmbH & Co. KG, Kleinostheim, Germany

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