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LIGO Project poised to catapult India onto world stage in physics and astronomy

The project will put India in the big league globally as it will be linked to the two LIGO detectors operating in the US to detect Gravitational Waves.

The Rs 2,000 crore LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory)  project which is under implementation will put India in the big league globally as it will be linked to the two LIGO detectors operating in the US to detect Gravitational Waves.

A third LIGO detector with identical sensitivity to the two US detectors is necessary for triangulation and location of the source in the sky for being able to do Gravitational Wave Astronomy.

Setting up the LIGO-India Project will accelerate the possibility of detecting gravitational waves by 20 times due the position of the sky from India.

The LIGO-India Project will be the first Mega Science Project on Indian soil, which will foster Indian industry to develop civil and vacuum infrastructure required to set up the LIGO India Detector. The spin-off of an advanced civil and vacuum industry and impact on everyday life will be immense and much needed technology advancement in India

The project was provided in-principle approval, with the signing of a MOU between NSF-USA and DAE- DST-India on March 30, 2016 in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington.

This had ensured that the detector components of LIGO will be shared with India, by LIGO USA. The India Logo detector will be set up in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra, 230 Kms from Aurangabad due to its ideal position. Land has been selected and all clearances acquired along-with other pre-project activities for financial sanction are completed. Young Indian engineers and experts are championing the project.

The project entails an investment of 2000 crores over 10 years (approx 200 crores per year).

A third LIGO detector on Indian soil, will put India onto the world stage in this area of physics and astronomy. And setting up LIGO in India using Indian human resources will provide suitable acceleration The LIGO India project is a rare example of a low-risk, high-reward project.

A LIGO detector in India will serve as a lighthouse to attract and motivate bright young minds in India to develop the quantum technologies of the future. In the US, major companies such as IBM, Amazon, and Google are heavily recruiting from the scientists and students who have worked on LIGO, and investing billions of USD in these areas.

The LIGO detectors are also the most highly cited examples of quantum engineering. The use of quantum- engineered laser light has expanded the astrophysical yield of the instrument by a factor of 10. The technological development of quantum enhanced sensing was driven entirely by the need for more sensitive astronomical instruments, and is now responsible for the quantum revolution which is now sweeping the planet: quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum materials, and quantum sensing and a field India wants to lead.

In addition to the impact in quantum engineering, the LIGO project will enhance the capacity of Indian industry in the production of ultra-high vacuum systems, high power lasers, precision optics, and control systems with Artificial Intelligence.

Laying the foundation of the LIGO India Detector in the G20 year will be the right signal to the world that India means business in taking leadership in future deep tech.