Sensitivity of the Advanced LIGO detectors at the beginning of gravitational wave astronomy


The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) consists of two widely separated 4 km laser interferometers designed to detect gravitational waves from distant astrophysical sources in the frequency range from 10 Hz to 10 kHz. The first observation run of the Advanced LIGO detectors started in September 2015 and ended in January 2016. A strain sensitivity of better than 10(-23) / root Hz was achieved around 100 Hz. Understanding both the fundamental and the technical noise sources was critical for increasing the astrophysical strain sensitivity. The average distance at which coalescing binary black hole systems with individual masses of 30 M-circle dot could be detected above a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 8 was 1.3 Gpc, and the range for binary neutron star inspirals was about 75 Mpc. With respect to the initial detectors, the observable volume of the Universe increased by a factor 69 and 43, respectively. These improvements helped Advanced LIGO to detect the gravitational wave signal from the binary black hole coalescence, known as GW150914.

Physical Review D 93(11), 112004