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The Einstein Telescope: From cosmic origins to extreme precision optics


On April 18th 2023, the Brussels Photonics research team (B-PHOT) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel organises the annual Light Night event in the framework of International Day of Light. Prof. Michael Vervaeke and Prof. Alexandre Sevrin will elaborate on the Einstein Telescope project we are working on at B-PHOT. But what is this project and how will the VUB contribute to this?

The Einstein Telescope (ET) project is one of the 11 priorities of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) to address European challenges. The aim of this first and most advanced third-generation gravitational-wave observatory, with unprecedented sensitivity, is to put Europe at the forefront of Gravitational Wave research. Belgium is one of the main candidates to host the underground laboratory, in a collaboration with the Netherlands and Germany.

The border region of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany is an ideal location for the installation of such an infrastructure. This is because of its tranquillity, stable ground and strong ecosystem of scientific institutions and high-tech companies. Scientists, companies and governments in all three countries are exploring the possibilities together.

VUB has been engaged in the project for several years, covering different sub-programs. It is part of the ET Consortium and is also one of the leaders of ETpathfinder, an R&D facility in Maastricht, where B-PHOT and HEP@VUB (Theoretical High Energy Physics) are working together with Maastricht University on a prototype of the telescope, funded by Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland, the Flemish government and VUB. The full project can also count on several other resources:

  • iBOF (interuniversity Special Research Fund, interuniversitair Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds), by VLIR (Flemish Interuniversity Council)
  • International Research Infrastructure Grant by FWO (Research Foundation - Flanders, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek)

The role of B-PHOT is focused on the research towards and application of new technologies and infrastructures, like extreme silicon optics for the main interferometer mirrors and novel setups for laser beam conditioning.

Light Night 2023 - The Einstein Telescope: from cosmic origins to extreme precision optics

Do you want to know more about the Einstein Telescope and our work? Join the talk of Prof. Vervaeke and Prof. Sevrin during Light Night 2023 on April 18th at Pilar Box (VUB Main Campus, Brussels). Registration is free but required! Keep an eye out for more news about this ground-breaking project on our website!