Mattew Evans, Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics

EMAIL: m3v4n5@mit.edu

PHONE: (617) 452-3272

OFFICE: NW22-275

ASSISTANT: Marie Woods (617) 253-4824


Area of Physics:

Astrophysics: Gravitational Waves

Research Interests

Professor Evans' research is focused on gravitational wave detector instrument science. The US effort to detect gravitational waves is currently upgrading the Initial LIGO detectors to Advanced LIGO, with an order of magnitude improvement in astrophysical reach. The Advanced LIGO detectors will begin taking data in 2014, and should approach design sensitivity over the 5 years that follow. Direct detection of gravitational waves is expected during that 5 year period.

In addition to his work on the Advanced LIGO detectors in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA, in the lab at MIT Professor Evans explores the physical processes that set fundamental limits on the sensitivity of future gravitational wave detectors. Of particular interest are the quantum and thermal limitations which have the strongest impact on ground-based detectors like LIGO, and also play a role in the related fields of ultra-stable frequency references and macroscopic quantum measurement (MQM).

Biographical Sketch

Professor Evans received his B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1996 and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 2002. He continued his work on LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in his post-doctoral work started at Caltech, then moved to the European Gravitational Observatory to work on the Virgo project. In 2006 he took a position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research scientist working on the Advanced LIGO project, and moved to his current position at MIT in January 2013. His graduate and post-doctoral work has involved many aspects of ground-based gravitational wave instrument science, with special focus on modeling and control of kilometer-scale resonant interferometers.

Selected Publications


  • J. Miller, M. Evans, L. Barsotti, P. Fritschel, M. MacInnis, R. Mittleman, B. Shapiro, J. Soto, C. Torrie "Damping parametric instabilities in future gravitational wave detectors by means of electrostatic actuators", Phys. Lett. A 375 (2011) 788-794
  • M. Evans, L. Barsotti, P. Fritschel, "A General Approach to Optomechanical Parametric Instabilities", Phys. Lett. A 374 (2010) 665-671

(Thermal Noise)

  • R. Dolesi, M. Hueller, D. Nicolodi, D. Tombolato, S. Vitale, P. J. Wass, W. J. Weber, M. Evans, P. Fritschel, R. Weiss, J. H. Gundlach, C. A. Hagedorn, S. Schlamminger, G. Ciani, A. Cavalleri "Brownian force noise from molecular collisions and the sensitivity of advanced gravitational wave observatories", Phys. Rev. D84 (2011) 063007
  • M. Evans, S. Ballmer, M. Fejer, P. Fritschel, G. Harry, and G. Ogin, "Thermo-optic noise in coated mirrors for high-precision optical measurements", Phys. Rev. D 78 (2008) 102003

(Interferometer Control)

  • J. Driggers, M. Evans, K. Pepper, R. Adhikari "Active noise cancellation in a suspended interferometer", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 83 (2012) 024501
  • L. Barsotti, M. Evans, P. Fritschel, "Alignment sensing and control in advanced LIGO", Class. Quantum Grav. 27 (2010) 084026
  • M. Evans, N. Mavalvala, P. Fritschel, R. Bork, B. Bhawal, R. Gustafson, W. Kells, M. Landry, D. Sigg, R.Weiss, S. Whitcomb, H. Yamamoto "Lock acquisition of a gravitational wave interferometer", Optics Lett. 27 (2002) 598-600

Last updated on March 4, 2015 2:41 PM