Einstein Telescope is the name chosen for an underground observatory for measuring gravitational waves. At this facility, powerful laser beams will soon bounce back and forth between cryogenic, vibration-free mirrors at the ends of kilometres-long tunnels in a perfect vacuum. The instrument will be more sensitive than existing detectors. As a result, the instrument will be capable of detecting many more sources and scan an area of the universe that is one thousand times larger. Researchers will use it to examine the precise structure of neutron stars, analyse the birth process of black holes and map the structure of the universe immediately after the Big Bang.
The border region of South Limburg - the Meuse Rhine Euroregion - is one of the possible locations for this observatory. This area has a number of favourable characteristics: it is quiet, the soil is stable and there is a strong ecosystem of knowledge institutions and high tech companies. In addition, this project will attract numerous high technology companies from home and abroad. The required knowledge and technology (e.g. nanotechnology, AI, quantum computing, photonics) can be applied in many sectors in the future.
Investing in the future
The National Growth Fund has already allocated €42 million to support this exciting development and also earmarked reserves amounting to €870 million for the future. In 2024/2025, an international panel will decide where to build the Einstein Telescope. Thanks to the investment commitments made by the National Growth Fund, the Netherlands has the resources to match Belgium and Germany in a strong joint bid for the project in 2024/2025. If the bid is successful in 2025, the committee will make recommendations on the future reservation.
Nikhef-director Stan Bentvelsen
He has been personally involved with the Einstein Telescope project for many years. Obviously, he is delighted, but stresses that there is still much work to be done: “That government has given its full support to achieving the ambition of making the Netherlands a world leader in research on gravitational waves is fantastic news. These Growth Fund resources provide a solid basis for further collaboration with our partners in Germany and Belgium and for further soil survey activities to map the geological subsurface in the South Limburg border region. A project of this scale requires a careful process, and we are putting our heart and soul into it. I am confident that we are going to meet the additional conditions for the project award process.”
Most sensitive gravitational wave observatory ever
Gevoeligste observatorium voor zwaartekrachtsgolven ooit
Scientists plan to pick up signals from just after the Big Bang, and investigate the nature of black holes with the aid of the subterranean Einstein Telescope. So the observatory is of great significance to international physics and astronomy. As an assignment for high tech companies and a driver of technological progress, the Einstein Telescope is also a wonderful opportunity for society.
The Einstein Telescope is designed to measure at least ten times more accurately than the current detection devices can ever achieve. This will allow scientists to scan an area of the universe that is one thousand times larger in search of gravitational waves, and to detect sources that are too weak to be observed with the current generation of detection devices. Researchers will be able to examine the precise structure of neutron stars, analyse the birth process of black holes and map the structure of the universe immediately after the Big Bang. Armed with this new information, physicists aim to test Einstein's theory of relativity to a degree that was never possible in the past. These new insights will help us understand our universe better.
Questions? If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Holland High Tech. We will be delighted to help.
Holland High Tech looks actively for initiatives worthy of growth fund finance and unites technology industries and research organisations in value chains. We put proposals and broadly based programmes on the agenda, support research organisations and companies in jointly developing their plans, and lobby to create support.