New laser breakthrough to help understanding of gravitational waves

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A visualization of a supercomputer simulation of merging black holes sending out gravitational waves. Credit: NASA/C. Henze

Gravitational wave scientists from The University of Western Australia have led the development of a new laser mode sensor with unprecedented precision that will be used to probe the interiors of neutron stars and test fundamental limits of general relativity.

Research Associate from UWA’s Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav-UWA) Dr. Aaron Jones said UWA coordinated a global collaboration of gravitational wave, and photonics experts to pioneer a new method to measure structures of light called “eigenmodes.”

“Gravitational wave detectors like LIGO, Virgo and KAGRA store enormous amount of and several pairs of mirrors are used to increase the amount of laser light stored along the massive arms of the detector,” Dr. Jones said.

“However, each of these pairs has small that scatters light away from the perfect shape of the laser beam, which can cause excess noise in the detector, limiting sensitivity and taking the detector offline.

“We wanted to test an idea that would let us zoom in on the and look for the small ‘wiggles’ in power that can limit the detectors’ sensitivity.”

Dr. Jones said a similar problem is encountered in the telecoms industry where scientists are investigating ways to use multiple eigenmodes to transport more data down optical fibers.

“Telecoms scientists have developed a way to measure the eigenmodes using a simple apparatus, but it’s not sensitive enough for our purposes,” he said. “We had the idea to use a metasurface—an ultra-thin surface with a special pattern encoded in sub-wavelength size—and reached out to collaborators who could help us make one.”

The proof-of-concept setup the team developed was over one thousand times more sensitive than the original apparatus developed by telecoms scientists and the researchers will now look to translate this work into gravitational wave detectors.

OzGrav-UWA Chief Investigator Associate Professor Chunnong Zhao said the development is another step forward in detecting and analyzing the information carried by , allowing us to observe the universe in new ways.

“Solving the mode sensing problem in future gravitational wave detectors is essential if we are to understand the insides of and further our observation of the universe in a way never before possible,” Associate Professor Zhao said.

The study has been accepted for publication in Physical Review A.

More information:
Metasurface Enhanced Spatial Mode Decomposition, arXiv:2109.04663v2 [physics.optics]

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Putin masking invasion policies with 1990s humanitarian propaganda, analysis finds

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Russia is reinventing decades-old propaganda based on supposed humanitarian principles to justify its invasion of Ukraine, according to research published in the peer-reviewed journal The International Spectator.

Carried out by an expert on Russia-NATO relations, this extensive analysis of Russia’s official foreign policy statements since the USSR’s collapse provides new insights into Vladimir Putin’s tactics regarding separatism.

The research identifies attempts by officials to mask a from intervention to invasion towards former Soviet republics. This shift is apparent from 2008—when Russian forces went into Georgia—according to the study which covers the years after the Soviet Union’s collapse until present day.

The study has been conducted by Dr. Vasile Rotaru, from the Department of International Relations and European Integration, at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, in Romania.

His findings demonstrate that the Kremlin has used narratives from the 1990s to claim Russian minorities need protecting with military support. A former research fellow at the NATO Defense College, Dr. Rotaru also states that his analysis highlights how Russia has embellished rhetoric used in the years after the USSR’s dissolution to legitimize a new more aggressive approach towards secessionist conflicts.

“The narratives post-2008 seek to present themselves as consistent with the past,” says Dr. Rotaru, who specializes in Russian foreign policy, the former Soviet region, the Eastern Partnership, and the Eurasian Economic Union.

“The aim is inducing the perception that Russia’s strategy towards the secessionist conflicts…has remained the same. That is, supporting the separatist regions militarily with the proclaimed aim of protecting the Russian minority living in those regions.”

“By using the arguments emerged already in the 1990s, the Kremlin suggests the continuity of its strategy towards separatist conflicts.”

“However, has shown that since 2008 Moscow has not simply intervened in secessionist territories to put pressure on central governments of other post-Soviet states. It has also not abstained from direct invasion to control the foreign policy of the countries in its neighborhood.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered international condemnation and fears of a Third World War.

This is the latest carried out by Russia in post-Soviet republics—known as ‘the near abroad’—since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

The study findings are based on a review of written documents, and audio and video records by Russian foreign policy-makers.

The author analyzed statements regarding the country’s position towards secessionist conflicts. These include in South Ossetia, Crimea, Donbas, and preliminary evidence on the Russia-Ukraine war.

The study author investigated both similarities and differences between official Russian narratives. These related to conflicts in the 1990s when the USSR was breaking up, and post 2008.

They reveal that the humanitarian narratives from the 1990s and post 2008 share common patterns. Both relate to sovereignty and territorial integrity; the right to self-determination; and the illegitimacy of central authority.

Examples include references to Ukrainian authorities as “Neo-Nazis and Banderovtsy” in the context of the recognition of the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions and the invasion of Ukraine.

However, the study highlights that foreign policy statements post 2008 also cite historical injustices, and invoke the Kosovo precedent (the country’s independence from Serbia) which President Putin has used to justify Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.

In addition, the legality of Russia’s actions is presented as a humanitarian feature of foreign policy with the Ukraine invasion deemed in accordance with international law.

Overall, the authors conclude post-2008 narratives are more coherent. They attribute this to power being regained by former members of the Soviet leadership—those trained during the Cold War—without much opposition and with Putin’s backing.

More information:
Vasile Rotaru, Change or Continuity in Russia’s Strategy towards Secessionist Regions in the ‘Near Abroad’?, The International Spectator (2022). DOI: 10.1080/03932729.2022.2066821


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