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Impact on society

Cleaning of a large Virgo optic after the coating process

The extraordinary challenges that face gravitational-wave detection require scientists to develop cutting-edge technologies that can have significant applications in many different areas: high-stability laser systems; electro-opto-mechanical sensors, ultra-high vacuum; very-low-loss glasses and surface coatings; high-performance vibration isolation systems; quantum-sensing techniques; a system of alerts to communicate between the GW detectors and other observatories; data-analysis methods, machine- and deep-learning methods and distributed computing.

Furthermore, noise hunting turns the detector and its environmental sensors into an extraordinary ear, listening not only to the cosmos, but also to the environment, with applications for environmental monitoring, in, for example, the fields of seismic and atmospheric phenomena, or climate change.