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New Class of Gravitational Wave Detectors


IN a series of classic articles, Weber1–3 derived the equations of motion and the response of mass quadrupole detectors to tensor gravitational waves. He has also constructed a detector which is a cylindrical rod tuned to its fundamental longitudinal acoustic resonance. These devices (class 1 detectors) have a definite relationship between the resonant frequency and the dimensions, in consequence of which they become very large (and expensive) at low frequencies. Using a somewhat arbitrary criterion (discussed later), one may state that class 1 detectors are difficult to build at frequencies below 1,000 Hz. There are other mechanically resonant devices (for example, tuning forks, rings and hollow “squares”), which we call class 2 detectors, which have a different relationship between the resonant frequency and their dimensions. Application of the same arbitrary criterion to class 2 detectors establishes that their useful frequency range can be extended to 30 Hz and that their sensitivity at the lower frequencies is comparable with class 1 detectors. Thus class 2 detectors are useful in a frequency range not easily accessible to class 1 detectors.

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  1. 1

    Weber, J., General Relativity and Gravitational Waves (Interscience, New York, 1961).

  2. 2

    Weber, J., Phys. Rev. Lett., 17, 1228 (1966).

  3. 3

    Weber, J., Phys. Rev. Lett., 18, 498 (1967).

  4. 4

    Landau, L., and Lifshitz, E., Theory of Elasticity (Pergamon, Oxford, 1959).

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