Einstein Telescope

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This article is about the gravitational wave detector. For the X-ray telescope, see Einstein Observatory.

Einstein Telescope (ET) or Einstein Observatory, is a future third generation ground-based gravitational wave detector, currently being designed by different institutions in the European Union. It will be able to test Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity in strong field conditions and realize precision gravitational wave astronomy.

ET is officially a Design Study project supported by the European Commission under the Framework Programme 7 (FP7, Grant Agreement 211743). It concerns the study and the conceptual design for a new research infrastructure in the emergent field of Gravitational-wave astronomy.


The evolution of the current gravitational wave detectors Virgo and LIGO, as first generation detectors, is well defined. After the current upgrade to their so-called enhanced level, the detectors will evolve toward their second generation: the advanced Virgo and Ligo detectors. According to the current gravitational sources modeling, when these apparatuses will reach their nominal sensitivity, the detection of gravitational waves seems assured in few months of data taking. But the sensitivity needed to test Einstein’s theory of gravity in strong field conditions or to realize a precision gravitational wave astronomy, mainly of massive stellar bodies or of highly asymmetric (in mass) binary stellar systems goes beyond the expected performances of the advanced detectors and of their subsequent upgrades. In fact, for example, the fundamental limitations at low frequency of the sensitivity of the second generation detectors are given by the seismic noise, the related gravitational gradient noise (so-called Newtonian noise) and the thermal noise of the suspension last stage and of the test masses.

To circumvent these limitations new infrastructures are necessary: an underground site for the detector, to limit the effect of the seismic noise, and cryogenic facilities to cool down the mirrors to directly reduce the thermal vibration of the test masses.[1]

Technical Groups[edit]

The ET-FP7 project, through its four technical working groups is addressing the basic questions in the realization of this new observatory: site location and characteristics (WP1), suspension design and technologies (WP2), detector topology and geometry (WP3), detection capabilities requirements and Astrophysics potentialities (WP4). The physicists directly involved in the ET project are aware of the difficulty of the duty to realize a conceptual design of the new observatory in a so short time and for this reason the project is open to all the scientists willing to collaborate to the ET adventure. An appropriate body, the science team, has been created to support the scientists, not belonging to the 8 partners, interested to contribute to the effort.


ET is a design study project in the European Framework Programme (FP7). It has been proposed by 8 European research institutes leader in the gravitational wave experimental research. The project coordination is realized by the European Gravitational Observatory.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stefan Hild; Simon Chelkowski; Andreas Freise (2008-11-24), Pushing towards the ET sensitivity using 'conventional' technology, arXiv:0810.0604, Bibcode:2008arXiv0810.0604H 

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