SILENT is a Consolidator Grant ERC research project (2019), led by Christophe Collette (École polytechnique de Bruxelles)

Portrait de Christophe Collette Quiet! We’re listening for gravitational waves

September 14, 2015 was a milestone for physicists: on this day, the first gravitational waves were detected. These waves are produced when celestial bodies such as black holes or neutron stars collide, and they enable us to detect and understand events in our universe in a way that complements observations made with optical telescopes.

However, gravitational waves are hard to detect: their signal can be drowned out by the Earth’s seismic activity, or by variations in its gravitational field. ERC Consolidator project SILENT, of which ULB is a co-beneficiary, intends to develop a new platform designed to better isolate gravitational wave detectors. ‘The environment is controlled by an optical seismometer, a liquid inclinometer and a gravimeter: the platform will be the most stable ever built on Earth, and the detector will be virtually floating in its space’, explains Christophe Collette, researcher at BEAMS (École polytechnique de Bruxelles) and associate professor at Liège University.

He hopes to contribute to preparing third-generation low-frequency gravitational wave detectors, thus opening wider this new window through which we can observe the universe.

End of the project: 2025

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 866259).

Created on December 10, 2019