Invisible Gravity Waves Detectable with Quantum Mechanics

By | May 2, 2013

Invisible Gravity Waves Detectable with Quantum Mechanics

The existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in space and time, has long been predicted, but the elusive phenomenon has eluded scientists for decades. Now researchers are proposing a new method to detect these cosmic wrinkles that relies on the quantum nature of atoms.

Gravitational waves are a consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which posits that massive objects warp the space-time around them, causing other objects, and even light, to travel along curved paths when they pass nearby. Objects with very strong gravitational fields, such as black holes or dense stars orbiting in binary pairs, should create gravitational waves so powerful they are detectable here on Earth.

However, no experiment has yet found definitive proof that gravity waves exist. A group of physicists led by Stanford University’s Peter Graham hopes to change that, though, with a new detection method they call “atom interferometry.”

“No one’s yet seen a gravitational wave, but that’s not the reason most of us are really excited about it,” Graham told SPACE.com. “We’re all basically certain gravitational waves are there. But you could build a gravitational wave telescope and use gravitational waves to look at the whole universe.”…

The experiment works best on spacecraft, rather than on the ground, because the normal vibrations and shaking of the Earth could contaminate measurements made in ground-based detectors. …

Via Space

 

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