LIGO CalTech Awards Anderson Dahlen’s Applied Vacuum Division with A+ Upgrade Filter Cavity Vacuum Beamline Fabrication Contract

Posted on: April 24, 2020

Photo Blend of LIGO Hanford and Livingston Observatories LIGO Image Credit: LIGO-Virgo Collaboration. Sunset Credit: Getty Images.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment that was designed and built to detect cosmic gravitational waves. Construction of the two observatories began in the mid-90s with the aim of detecting gravitational waves by laser interferometry. Since it became operational, LIGO has made 50+ detections of gravitational waves and the resulted in a Nobel Prize in Physics to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry C. Barish in 2017.

The latest A+ Upgrade to Advanced LIGO is a $35M endeavor funded primarily by the National Science Foundation ($20.4M) and the UK Research and Innovation ($13.7M). Once complete, the A+ upgrade will nearly double Advanced LIGO’s sensitivity and increase the volume of space searched by a factor of seven.

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In March of 2020, LIGO Caltech awarded Anderson Dahlens Applied Vacuum Division (AVD) with a contract to build a new high vacuum Filter Cavity (FC) Vacuum Beamline in support of the A+ Upgrade. The contract consists of manufacturing 300 meters of (FC) beamtubes, 10 OD diameter in addition to numerous distributed bellows and crosses at both the Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA observatory sites.

CAD Concept of a portion of the A+ Upgrade Credit: E. Sanchez at CIT

The award is the result of a competitive bid process and requires collaboration between AVD and LIGO engineers to ensure the weldments meet all performance requirements prior to delivery. AVD is excited to begin scheduled deliveries to both LIGO observatories later this year. To learn more about the LIGO and the A+ Upgrade, please visit To learn more about AVD and how we can support your vacuum project, please visit us at

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