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University of Zurich and ETH Zurich

LISA Mission

University of Zurich and ETH Zurich

The ETH Zurich Main Building in Zentrum in the Raemistrasse.. Credit: ETH Zurich

ETH Zentrum, Main Building in the Raemistrasse

The Swiss Team involved in LISA and LISA Pathfinder consists of a group from the Physik-Institut of the University of Zurich and a group from of the Institute of Geophysics of ETH Zurich.

The group of the Physik-Institut at the University of Zurich is involved in theoretical research on gravitational wave astronomy, test of General Relativity, Gravitational Lensing and Cosmology. The group is also interested in the possibility to test alternative theories of gravity with the LISA Pathfinder mission, which could provide a clear test of the Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) theory in a mission extension to the Earth-Sun gravitational field saddle point.

The group at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich is involved in the development and building of the Inertial Sensor Front End Electronics (IS FEE) for LISA Pathfinder in collaboration with Swiss industry. IS FEE includes all electronics devolved to the test mass (sensor) position and attitude control, displacement and attitude measurement, biasing and dithering, power supply and basic acquisition and control software.

IS FEE is organised around two identical Sensing & Actuation Units (SAU) serving each sensor and one common Power Converter Unit. The challenging goal of SAU electronics is the sub-nanometer sensing and positioning of the test mass in the ultra-low frequency band (mHz). The IS FEE flight unit has already been delivered and is now undergoing extensive tests. Moreover the group participates to the LISA Technology Package (LTP) data analysis and to the development of the LTPDA Toolbox, a MATLAB based toolbox for advanced data analysis. In the framework of the LTP data analysis the main focus is the development of a MATLAB model for the FEE that will be used for simulation and analysis during the mission.

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