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Approaching zero: super-chilled mirrors edge towards the borders of gravity and quantum physics

By David Ernest McClelland, Distinguised Professor and Director Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics, Australian National University
Robert Ward, Associate Investigator, OzGrav (ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery), Research Fellow in Physics, Australian National University
Terry McRae, Research fellow, gravitational wave detection, Australian National University
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The LIGO gravitational wave observatory in the United States is so sensitive to vibrations it can detect the tiny ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. These waves are caused by colliding black holes and other stellar cataclysms in distant galaxies, and they cause movements in the observatory much smaller than a proton.

Now we have used this sensitivity to effectively chill a 10-kilogram mass down to less than one billionth of a degree above absolute zero.


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