The Einstein Telescope and industry: exploring technological challenges together

Written by Martine

The Einstein Telescope comes with unique technical challenges that cannot be solved by science alone. That’s why collaboration with industry is important. During webinars on July 1st and 15th specialists from both – science and industry – explored the challenges and collaboration opportunities together.

67 people registered for the first introductory session on July 1st. On July 15th seven sessions took place, each evolving around a specific topic. A total of 51 different companies and organisations joined the discussions. The presentations and conversations were sometimes quite general. At other times they included specific solutions for for example vacuum systems, sensors or the general infrastructure.

Marco Beijersbergen is chair of the roadmap team for Advanced Instrumentation of the ‘Top sector’ High-tech Systems and Materials. He co-initiated this webinar series and is happy about the turnout and the information provided. He also explains why the Einstein Telescope is interesting for companies: “It requires technology beyond the limits of what’s possible at the moment, and a lot of money is being invested in that. If companies get the chance to participate fully in the development and construction, they can not only show what they can do and make some money. But they can also co-develop new technologies that they can offer to others as well.”

He also points out that there are challenges ahead. “In a project like the Einstein Telescope, it is complex to see where the opportunities are. It is important to go further than seeking collaboration 1-on-1. This webinar is a start, but it will require more.”

Frank Linde is programme leader for gravitational waves at Nikhef, and one of the driving forces behind the Einstein Telescope. He confirms that “we will open up more. There will be follow-up events in the coming year, and more information will become available online. But we have to work on this process together.”

About the Einstein Telescope

The Einstein Telescope is a future gravitational wave detector. This underground observatory will be much more sensitive than current detectors, and allow scientists to observe parts of the universe that cannot be studied with existing instrumentation. There are two candidate sites for the Einstein Telescope: Sardinia and the border area of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (the Euregio Meuse-Rhine).

20 M€ for industry orders coming years

It will take years before we know if the Einstein Telescope will be located in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, but it is important to explore challenges and opportunities early on. The R&D-lab ETpathfinder and the project E-TEST offer opportunities already. In the coming three years, 20 M€ will be available in these projects for industry orders. Maastricht University and the University of Liege are coordinating these innovative projects that will contribute to the development and testing of techniques for gravitational wave detectors.


Image credit: Virgo collaboration