The Laboratory of Experimental Gravitation at the University of Trento has worked towards the development of an orbiting gravitational wave observatory since the joint NASA – ESA studies of LISA – Laser Interferometer Space Antenna – in the 1990s. We have been a leader for a metrology demonstrator mission since its approval – as the LISA Technology Package aboard SMART-2 – as an ESA mission in 2002, and one of us (S. Vitale) serves as the LISA Pathfinder mission principal investigator (PI).
Our primary eLISA / LPF research activities, and main contributions to the start of gravitational wave observation from space, include:
- Designing and analyzing an in-orbit experiment to demonstrate sub-femto-g free-fall
- Designing and prototyping “Gravitational Reference Sensors” for eLISA and LISA Pathfinder
- Probing the limits of free-fall in the lab with femtoNewton torsion pendulums
The LISA Pathfinder team at the University of Trento. From left to right: Blondo Seutchat Tcheungang, Giuliana Russano, Antonella Cavalleri, Roberta Giusteri, Daniel Vetrugno, William Joseph Weber, Mauro Hueller, Stefano Vitale, Valerio Ferroni, Andrea Zambotti, Rita Dolesi, Paolo Pivato, Andrea Cesarini, Karine Laurence Frisinghelli, Li Liu, Daniele Bortoluzzi.