The recent detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has launched a new field of study within astrophysics. The MIT LIGO Laboratory is engaged in R&D to improve the sensitivity of the LIGO detectors. Shown here is a prototype fiber laser amplifier, built in collaboration with MIT Lincoln Laboratory. There are three stages of amplification, visible as the three glowing coils of fiber. This technology may some day be installed in the two LIGO detectors (in the states of Louisiana and Washington) to increase the laser power in the interferometric arms.
Photo: Nicole Fandel, Lincoln Laboratory