Searching for New Physics with a Levitated-Sensor-Based Gravitational-Wave Detector

Nancy Aggarwal, George P. Winstone, Mae Teo, Masha Baryakhtar, Shane L. Larson, Vicky Kalogera, Andrew A. Geraci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The levitated sensor detector (LSD) is a compact resonant gravitational-wave (GW) detector based on optically trapped dielectric particles that is under construction. The LSD sensitivity has more favorable frequency scaling at high frequencies compared to laser interferometer detectors such as LIGO and VIRGO. We propose a method to substantially improve the sensitivity by optically levitating a multilayered stack of dielectric discs. These stacks allow the use of a more massive levitated object while exhibiting minimal photon recoil heating due to light scattering. Over an order of magnitude of unexplored frequency space for GWs above 10 kHz is accessible with an instrument 10 to 100 meters in size. Particularly motivated sources in this frequency range are gravitationally bound states of the axion from quantum chromodynamics with decay constant near the grand unified theory scale that form through black hole superradiance and annihilate to GWs. The LSD is also sensitive to GWs from binary coalescence of sub-solar-mass primordial black holes and as-yet unexplored new physics in the high-frequency GW window.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 18 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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