The Einstein Telescope will be a world-class measurement instrument to detect gravitational waves. As a project team, we are exploring opportunities for the border area of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to host this groundbreaking measurement instrument.
Gravitational waves: ripples in the universe
Our universe vibrates daily when black holes or neutron stars orbit or collide somewhere in the universe. Albert Einstein predicted back in 1916 that distances stretch and contract almost immeasurably when such a gravitational wave passes by. In 2015, the US detector LIGO managed to measure that phenomenon for the first time.
With the Einstein Telescope, researchers will look for instance at the birth process of black holes, the structure of neutron stars, and the nature of the universe immediately after the Big Bang. They also want to test the predictions of Einstein’s theory of relativity as never before. This will give us new insights into our universe. This makes the observatory of great significance for international physics and astronomy.
The three 10-kilometer tunnels of the Einstein Telescope will be sited 250 to 300 meters underground in order to make undisturbed measurements of gravitational waves. Above ground, hardly anything will be visible of the observatory.
The Einstein Telescope measures gravitational waves by constantly monitoring the length of its three detector corridors with sensitive lasers and vibration-free suspended lasers. If that length changes in a specific pattern, it is the signal of a passing gravity wave. The Einstein Telescope will detect a thousand times more gravity waves than its predecessors.
One of the most promising locations for the Einstein Telescope is the border area of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Here, the area’s soft topsoil blocks vibrations caused by human activity on the surface, allowing the underground observatory to take measurements undisturbed. In addition, the good connections and network of knowledge institutions and companies are important for the Einstein Telescope. Ultimately, European ministers decide where the Einstein Telescope will be built.
Boosting the environment
The Einstein Telescope is an excellent opportunity for society in the host countries and especially in the border area where the observatory may be located. The high-tech industry and small and medium-sized enterprises look forward to the orders for the construction of the observatory. Educational institutions also see opportunities to attract young talent from the border region and beyond. The observatory thus creates jobs and grows a network of innovative companies.