, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 1905-1930,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 Dec 2010

Sources and technology for an atomic gravitational wave interferometric sensor


We study the use of atom interferometers as detectors for gravitational waves in the mHz–Hz frequency band, which is complementary to planned optical interferometers, such as laser interferometer gravitational wave observatories (LIGOs) and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). We describe an optimized atomic gravitational wave interferometric sensor (AGIS), whose sensitivity is proportional to the baseline length to power of 5/2, as opposed to the linear scaling of a more conservative design. Technical challenges are briefly discussed, as is a table-top demonstrator AGIS that is presently under construction at Berkeley. We study a range of potential sources of gravitational waves visible to AGIS, including galactic and extra-galactic binaries. Based on the predicted shot noise limited performance, AGIS should be capable of detecting type Ia supernovae precursors within 500 pc, up to 200 years beforehand. An optimized detector may be capable of detecting waves from RX J0806.3+1527.