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Professor Hartmut Grote

Professor Hartmut Grote

Gravity Exploration Institute

++44 (0)29 2087 6460
N/1.08, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA


I am a member of the Gravity Exploration Institute and my main expertise and experience is in experimental gravitational physics research, in particular instrumentation for gravitational wave detectors. I am also interested in exploring how to apply precision interferometry to fundamental physics, as for example in the search for dark matter.

I am Prinipal Investigator to the consortium "Quantum-Enhanced Interferometry for New Physics", in which we search for new particles beyond the standard model and for experimental signatures of quantization of space-time or semi-classical gravity. More on our consortium can be found here:

QI Consortium


I co-edited the 2-volume book "Advanced Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Detectors" (World Scientific, 2019):

Advanced Detector Book

and published a book introducing a brief history of gravitational-wave research, the workings of the detectors, and the first detections for a general audience (CRC Press, 2019)

Gravitational-Wave Book

the German version of the book can be found here (C.H. Beck, 2018):

Gravitational-Wave Book (German version)


  • since 2018: Faculty member in the School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University. Chair of experimental gravitational-wave physics
  • 2009 – 2017: Scientific leader of the GEO600 gravitational wave detector
  • 2015 – 2016: Visiting research associate at Caltech / LIGO Livingston Observatory
  • 2004 – 2014: Various research visits to NAOJ (Japan) and LIGO Laboratory (Caltech and LIGO Livingston Observatory)
  • 2003 – 2008: Research fellow, Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Hannover: Commissioning and noise analysis of GEO600
  • 2003: Phd (Doctorate) in physics from Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
  • 1999 – 2003: Scientific assistant, Max-Planck institute for gravitational physics. Locking and automatic alignment of GEO600
  • 1993 – 1997: Systems developer, Research laboratories of Medical University of Hannover. Development of special research equipment for medical research (Self-learning heart beat detection, leg length measurement machine, ergometer calorimeter)

Honours and awards

  • Special breakthrough prize in fundamental physics awarded to R. W. P. Drever, K. S. Thorne, R. Weiss, and 1012 contributors to the discovery of gravitational waves, 2016
  • Gruber Cosmology Prize awarded awarded to R. W. P. Drever, K. S. Thorne, R. Weiss, and the members of the LIGO and Virgo collaborations, 2016
  • JSPS (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) fellowship, 2008
  • Prize for best pre-diploma (bachelor equivalent) thesis

Speaking engagements

(selected talks since 2015)

  • "Dark Matter Signatures in Laser-Interferometric Gravitational-Wave Detectors", Texas Syposium, Portsmouth, 16.12.2019
  • "Search for Dark Matter with Laser Interferometers and othe (ab)uses of Precision Instruments", Univiersity of Birmingham, 27.11.2019
  • "Ultra-High Frequency Gravitational Waves and their link to ALPS and IAXO", IAXO collaboration meeting, 22.10.2019
  • "Experimental Upeer Limits on (Ultra-) High Frequency Gravitational Waves and Prospects for More", Invited talk ICTP workshop Trieste, 14.10.2019
  • “Gravitationswellen”, Public talk Urania Berlin, 28.6.2018
  • "The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory LIGO:
    Principles and Upgrades", URSI2018, Sicily, Italy, 20.6.2018
  • "News from the dark Universe: Gravitational waves and the complex machines to detect them", Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA, 24.5.2018
  • “The Road Ahead: Challenges for Advanced Gravitational Wave Detectors”,
    Fermilab Colloquium, USA, 7.3.2018
  • “LIGO, Virgo, GEO: wie funktioniert ein Gravitationswellendetektor?” 33.
    Hochschultage in Marburg, 16.2.2018
  • “News from the dark Universe: The discovery of gravitational waves”, Public
    talk at Mountain cloud Zen center, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 13.12.2017
  • "Gravitationswellen, Geschichte einer Jahrhundertentdeckung", IGPP Freiburg, Germany, 18.10.2017
  • "Squeezed-light Enhancement: GEO600 and Prospects for Other Gravitational Wave Detectors", URSI/GRAS 2017, Montreal, Canada, 24.8.2017
  • “News from the dark Universe: The discovery of gravitational waves”,
    Colloquium University of Regensburg, Germany, 24.10.2016
  • “Nachrichten vom Dunklen Universum: Die Entdeckung der Gravitationswellen”, Graz, Austria, 22.10.2016
  • “News from the dark Universe: The discovery of gravitational waves”, Joint astronomy colloquium European southern observatory (ESO) and MPI for Astrophysics, Garching, Germany, 20.10.2016
  • “Gravitationswellen”, Literary forum Hannover, Germany, 17.5.2016
  • “News from the dark Universe: The discovery of gravitational waves”, Colloquium generale, University of Luxemburg, 12.5.2016
  • “QED/VMB at gravitational wave detectors”, QED workshop DESY, Hamburg, Germany, 2.11.2015
  • “No signal yet: The elusive birefringence of the vacuum and how GW detectors may help”, Colloquium University of Oxford, MS, US, 20.10.2015
  • Plenary talk: Overview and status of Advanced Interferometers”, TAUP conference Torino, Italy, 11.9.2015
  • “No signal yet: The elusive birefringence of the vacuum and how GW detectors may help”, Caltech seminar, US, 24.2.2015
  • “Ultra sensitive length measurements: Gravitational wave detectors and what they might be good for”, Colloquium University of Ferrara, 2.2.2015













PX4230/PXT128 Physics and Reality

PXT901 Experimental Gravitational-Wave Physics I


PX4133 / PXT127 Modern Quantum Optics

PXT902 Experimental Gravitational-Wave Physics II

My research interest is in instrumentation for gravitational wave detectors, and how these complex machines can be made more sensitive and reliable. Interferometric gravitational wave detectors embody phyiscs and engineering from many disciplines, like mechanics, optics, control systems, electronics, computing, solid state physics, and vacuum technology.

Examples of my particular interests are: Improving the readout methods with which gravitational wave information is obtained from the optical output of what we call the main interferometer, understanding and improving the complex alignment system of gravitational wave detectors that hold all optics at their correct angles at all times, and researching ways to reduce the quantum noise in interferometers.

I also have an interest in the application of precision interferometry techniques to other fundamental physics questions, like the measurement of birefringence of the vacuum, the search for new particles beyond the standard model, and more exotic questions. One of them is the question wether we can observe signatures of quantization of space-time with laser interferometry.

We are constructing a table-top interferometer in our group, that will search for quantization of space-time, for scalar field dark matter and for ultra-high frequency gravitational waves.