News | February 24, 2016

ZYGO Manufactured Precision Optics Enable Scientists To Confirm Detection Of Gravitational Waves

MIDDLEFIELD, CT - Zygo Corporation congratulates the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for its successful detection of gravitational waves and thereby confirming one of the major predictions of Albert Einstein's 1915 General Theory of Relativity. That confirmation was enabled, in part, by interferometric measurements that employed extremely high-precision optics manufactured by ZYGO.

The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration is a group of more than 1,000 scientists from across the United States and fourteen other countries who worked together over a period of decades to open what is widely considered an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

The scientific team announced its discovery on February 11, 2016, following the detection of gravitational waves on September 14, 2015 by twin LIGO detectors located in Livingston, LA, and Hanford, WA. The advanced LIGO detectors that observed the gravitational waves are described by David Shoemaker of MIT and project leader for Advanced LIGO as a "tour de force of science and technology, made possible by a truly exceptional international team of technicians, engineers and scientists."

"We at ZYGO, first of all, acknowledge the tremendous achievement made by this outstanding team of international scientists, who devoted significant portions of their lives to the pursuit of this elusive discovery, which literally extends the boundaries of our knowledge of the universe," comments Marc Tricard, Divisional Vice President for ZYGO's Optics Business Segment.

"We are proud that ZYGO was selected to participate, albeit in a small way, in enabling the success of this global scientific project."

"A number of high-end physics programs, such as LIGO, are designed to use very high-precision optical components to achieve the extreme sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. The optics must be fabricated from high-purity materials to sub-nanometer tolerances, requiring very demanding manufacturing and metrology techniques," he adds.

"The demanding level of precision and quality required by the advanced gravitational wave detector was both an exciting and challenging project for the ZYGO team. We are especially proud of our colleagues for delivering some of the most-precise optics ever manufactured to the LIGO team and helping them make this astounding discovery a scientific reality."

Zygo Corporation, a unit of AMETEK Ultra Precision Technologies Division, is a leading provider of optical metrology solutions, high-precision optics, and optical assemblies used in a wide range of scientific, industrial, and medical applications.

AMETEK, Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with 2014 annual sales of $4.0 billion. For more information, contact ZYGO, 21 Laurel Brook Rd., Middlefield, CT 06455-1291 USA. Telephone: +1-860-347-8506. E-mail