The Michigan Gravitational Wave Group (MGWG) carries out research using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a pair of facilities in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana, funded by the National Science Foundation. These observatories host 4-km-long Michelson interferometers designed to detect truly minute ripples (smaller than 1 part in 1021) of space itself, caused by violent astrophysical processes far away in our own galaxy or in distant galaxies.
Current MGWG group members are
Deep mining of LIGO data taken in 2009-2010 to search for continuous gravitational waves emitted by rapidly spinning neutron stars in our galaxy. K. Riles is Co-Chair of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration's Continuous Waves Search Group. The MGWG has developed two powerful analysis programs for carrying out all-sky searches for unknown neutron stars -- PowerFlux (dissertation work by V. Dergachev) for isolated neutron stars and TwoSpect (dissertation work by E. Goetz) for binary neutron stars.
Commissioning and detector characterization of the Advanced LIGO interferometers, which are designed to improve upon initial LIGO strain amplitude sensitivity by more than an order of magnitude. The first data run of the Advanced LIGO detectors is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2015, although it may take several years beyond that to reach design sensitivity over the full bandwidth of interest.