Gravitational Wave Detectors

Edwards enables Gravitational Wave Detection

Ripples in the fabric of space-time

Gravitational Waves

It is essential that the observatories housing the interferometers are perfectly clean and extremely stable; the whole interferometer must remain as optically perfect as possible. Any residual gas would affect the measurement, so the light beam must operate under an ultra-high vacuum.

XDS Dry Scroll Pump

Edwards' XDS scroll pumps have been used for over 10 years by Virgo in Italy. The Virgo detector for gravitational waves has two 3 km long tubes, each 1.2 m in diameter, which are the largest ultra-high vacuum vessels in Europe, and the second largest in the world. With their innovative design and robustness, the XDS dry scroll pumps have been used for various experimental set-ups, including pre-evacuation and baking out of large chambers.

Edwards applications and derivatives team

For more than 20 years the two LIGO observatories in the USA, which were the first gravitational wave observatory to detect gravitational waves, have relied on Edwards oil free dry pumps and STP magnetically levitated turbomolecular pumps.