Physicists used LIGO’s mirrors to approach a quantum limit

Quantum mechanics usually applies to very small objects: atoms, electrons and the like. But physicists have now brought the equivalent of a 10-kilogram object to the edge of the quantum realm.

Scientists with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, reduced vibrations in a combination of the facility’s mirrors to nearly the lowest level allowed by quantum mechanics, they report in the June 18 Science.

The researchers quelled differences between the jiggling of LIGO’s four 40-kilogram mirrors, putting them in near-perfect sync. When the mirrors are combined in this way, they behave effectively like a single, 10-kilogram object.

LIGO is designed to measure gravitational waves, using laser light

→ Continue reading at Science News

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