Research department

Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics

The recent discoveries of gravitational waves by LIGO/Virgo interferometers and of Higgs boson by LHC taught us about the internal workings of the universe more than any other scientific discovery in the preceding decades. Yet more questions arose than we got answers to. Research at GWFP is targeted at finding answers to those fundamental questions.

Gravitational waves
Image: LIGO/T.Pyle

We develop new technologies for the next generation European gravitational-wave detector Einstein Telescope, designed to observe the whole Universe in GW spectrum. Gravitational waves are ripples on the fabric of space-time born in catastrophic collisions of the most massive and densest objects in the universe, the black holes and neutron stars.

To detect these tiny ripples, Einstein Telescope, the Europe’s next generation GW observatory will be built, and our group is working on a range of advanced technologies to make this reality. Maastricht University is a home for the unique experimental facility, the ET Pathfinder that will become a testbed for a range of groundbreaking cryogenic and quantum technologies to be used in the ET.

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 Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb)

We try to understand the workings of the universe on a particle level. The LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN aims to study the forces of nature - electromagnetic, strong and weak - at the smallest scales and highest energies. Especially in the early universe, right after the big bang, new particles and forces could have had a dramatic impact on the way the universe looks and behaves today. At LHCb, we specialize in measuring the matter-antimatter differences in heavy particles, called CP-violation, and making precision studies of the effects that potential new particles or forces have in very rare particle decays, through so-called quantum loops.

In Maastricht we contribute to the physics analyses, the operation of the detector at the LHC, and to the algorithms used to reconstruct physics from our data. To face the future challenges of the large amounts of data produced by the particle collisions, we study the applications of machine learning, the use of graphics processing units in high-performance computing, and explore the potential that quantum computing can offer.

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    Quantum Machine Learning enters the fray in CERN’s LHCb experiment

    Wednesday, August 3, 2022

    In a recent article in the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP), the LHCb collaboration reports the application of Quantum Machine Learning for identifying properties of so-called jets: streams of particles that result from particle collisions.

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  • einstein telescope

    Preparations for the Einstein Telescope can continue

    Wednesday, July 13, 2022

    The Einstein Telescope will definitely receive 42 million euros from the National Growth Fund. The government previously granted the amount subject to conditions. With the definitive allocation, the preparatory work can continue.


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  • Dr. Jessica Steinlechner

    Searching for signals in the new science of gravitational waves

    Monday, July 4, 2022

    Jessica Steinlechner and her research group at Maastricht University are making their contribution to discovering into the origin and future of the universe in the form of mirror coatings that will improve our ability to make such measurements.

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  • logo nwo

    Four Vidi grants for talented Maastricht University researchers

    Friday, July 1, 2022

    The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded four experienced researchers at Maastricht University a Vidi grant of EUR 800,000.

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  • Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf visits Maastricht

    Tuesday, May 24, 2022

    "In order to get a good idea, you will have to hear a lot of good ideas." The words of Netherlands Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf speaking at the end of his working visit to Maastricht on 23 May. Professor Dijkgraaf visited Vista College, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Maastricht University, where he saw many good ideas and innovations.

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  • Megatelescope under Limburg hills comes closer

    Monday, May 16, 2022

    More than 900 million euros were recently released by the cabinet for the construction of a unique mega telescope under the hilly soil of Limburg. In Maastricht, physicists are already making the first preparations.

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  • groeifonds

    National Growth Fund: millions for knowledge development and innovation projects in Limburg

    Thursday, April 14, 2022

    Het kabinetsbesluit over het toekennen van financiering vanuit het Nationaal Groeifonds biedt perspectief voor het verder ontwikkelen van de kennis- en innovatiekracht in Limburg.

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    SURF joins Maastricht University and partners in efforts in the field of quantum computing

    Tuesday, April 5, 2022

    Maastricht University, Nikhef, CERN and SURF will address some specific challenges for the LHCb experiment in order to determine which elements of the data analysis chains are best suited for a quantum computing approach.

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  • GWFP's Lex Greeven wins poster prize

    Monday, January 31, 2022

    Lex Greeven, PhD candidate at the department for Gravitational Wave and Fundamental Physics wins poster prize at NWO Physics@Veldhoven

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  • Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven opening ET Pathfinder

    Looking back on ETpathfinder's opening

    Tuesday, November 9, 2021

    Photo impression of the ETpathfinder opening on November 8, 2021.

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