Laser interferometer on the moon

authored by
P. Amaro-Seoane, Lea Bischof, Jonathan J. Carter, Marie Sophie Hartig, Dennis Wilken

Gravitational wave astronomy has now left its infancy and has become an important tool for probing the most violent phenomena in our Universe. The LIGO/Virgo-KAGRA collaboration operates ground based detectors which cover the frequency band from 10 Hz to the kHz regime. Meanwhile, the pulsar timing array and the soon to launch LISA mission will cover frequencies below 0.1 Hz, leaving a gap in detectable gravitational wave frequencies. Here we show how a laser interferometer on the moon (LION) gravitational wave detector would be sensitive to frequencies from sub Hz to kHz. We find that the sensitivity curve is such that LION can measure compact binaries with masses between 10 and 100M o˙ at cosmological distances, with redshifts as high as z = 100 and beyond, depending on the spin and the mass ratio of the binaries. LION can detect binaries of compact objects with higher-masses, with very large signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs), help us to understand how supermassive black holes got their colossal masses on the cosmological landscape, and it can observe in detail intermediate-mass ratio inspirals at distances as large as at least 100 Gpc. Compact binaries that never reach the LIGO/Virgo sensitivity band can spend significant amounts of time in the LION band, while sources present in the LISA band can be picked up by the detector and observed until their final merger. Since LION covers the deci-Hertz regime with such large SNRs, it truly achieves the dream of multi messenger astronomy.

Institute of Gravitation Physics
External Organisation(s)
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
Polytechnic University of Valencia
Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University (KIAA-PKU)
Academy of Mathematics and System Sciences
Technische Universität Berlin
Classical and quantum gravity
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open) (Access: Open)