About the UBC LIGO Group

The UBC LIGO group spans the Faculties of Engineering and Science, with faculty, researcher, and student members from the Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy departments.

The UBC LIGO group is heavily involved in the operation of the LIGO detectors, including detector characterization and data calibration. UBC researchers also contribute to the analysis of data from the global detector network, including the LIGO detectors in the U.S., the Virgo detector in Italy, and the KAGRA detector in Japan. We search for astrophysical gravitational-wave signals from spinning neutron stars, colliding compact objects, and supernova explosions. We’re also investigating the prospects for gravitational-wave astrophysics with next-generation detectors on Earth and in space.

The UBC group is also contributing to improving optical coatings for the Advanced LIGO detectors and future ground-based gravitational wave observatories. Optical coating thermal noise is a limiting noise source for gravitational wave detectors, and advances in this important material science research will be key to allowing gravitational-wave detectors to sense spacetime fluctuations farther out into deep space.

Principal Investigators

Jess McIver

Assistant Professor in Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Jess McIver co-leads the international LIGO Detector Characterization team. The McIver group contributes to searches for gravitational waves from spinning neutron stars and estimation of the properties of gravitational wave sources like merging black holes and neutron stars. They also develop novel methods to enable multi-messenger astrophysics with the LIGO, Virgo, KAGRA, and LISA gravitational-wave detectors.


Joerg Rottler

Professor in Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Joerg Rottler studies the structural and mechanical properties of materials. The Rottler group utilizes a broad range of computational techniques, including DFT methods, molecular dynamics and dynamical density fields, to understand matter in and out of equilibrium.


Jeff Young

Dr. Jeff Young is a Professor in Physics and Astronomy whose group is interested in developing new optical materials and devices by controlling composition on multiple length-scales. They have expertise in high-throughput optical characterization and complex nanofabrication.


Curtis Berlinguette

Professor in Chemistry, Dr. Curtis Berlinguette leads a diverse research group which combines chemistry, materials science, robotics and machine learning to accelerate the discovery and deployment of novel thin-film materials. They have developed a scalable, facile photochemical technique for accessing amorphous metal oxide films.


Ke Zou

Dr. Ke Zou is an Assistant Professor in Physics and Astronomy at UBC. The Zou group specializes in integrating molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) synthesis with nanostructure fabrication and a variety of characterization techniques for physical and electronic structures.



Learn more:

The LIGO Laboratory: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/learn-more

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration: https://www.ligo.org