Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Identifying LISA Gravitational-Wave Sources Using the Optical Time Domain

In this webinar, Kevin Burdge (Graduate Student, Caltech) will describe ongoing work using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) to identify ultracompact binaries (P below 60 min) which are candidate gravitational wave sources detectable by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). So far, this work has resulted in the discovery of 16 newly identified binary systems with orbital periods under an hour, including seven eclipsing systems, two of which have orbital periods under 10 minutes (making them the shortest period eclipsing binary systems known). Three of the systems will be very strong (SNR above 50) LISA gravitational wave sources, and many of the others should be detectable at lower SNR.

Learning objectives:

  • How short period binary systems are identified using time domain data from wide field optical surveys like ZTF.
  • How high-speed imaging enabled by EMCCDs, CMOS, and frame transfer CCDs is crucial in characterizing these systems.
  • What new technologies are still needed, such as spectrographs which use EMCCDs in photon counting mode.

Kevin Burdge is a graduate student in physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) working on identifying gravitational wave sources in the optical time domain. His PhD work has involved using many EMCCD cameras from Andor to characterize these systems.

Date: September 2020

Author: Kevin Burge & Dr Ines Juvan-Beaulieu

Category: Webinar

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