Dr Conor Mow-Lowry BSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Conor Malcolm Mow-Lowry

School of Physics and Astronomy
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Conor Mow-Lowry is a Lecturer in the gravitational physics group where he is developing hardware to improve the sensitivity and reliability of gravitational-wave detectors.

Dr Mow-Lowry has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Community since 2001 and he has worked on a wide range of experiments pushing the boundaries of precision measurement, using technologies developed for gravitational-wave detectors for wider applications, and directly improving the sensitivity of large-scale detectors.


Lecturer in Experimental Physics:

  • PhD in precision measurement, Australian National University, 2011
  • BSc (Hons), Australian National University, 2002


At the Australian National University Conor’s early research was focussed on readout and control techniques for gravitational-wave detectors. His work evolved into an investigation of how high laser power can influence an instrument by applying radiation forces, and springs, to mirrors, a result published in 2004.

Throughout his PhD Conor extended this research, making high-sensitivity measurements at low frequencies, and finally exploring how a laser can reduce the effective temperature of a mirror via optical cooling, the chief result of his PhD, published in 2008.

In early 2012, Conor moved to the Albert-Einstein-Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany, where he worked as a Max-Planck stipend holder as part of a team building a world-leading facility for reaching the quantum limits of measurement.

Dr Mow-Lowry was appointed a Lecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham in January 2015.


Images and Communications


Dr Mow-Lowry’s research is focussed in improving the operation of gravitational-wave detectors with high laser power, and improving their low-frequency sensitivity and stability with active seismic isolation.

Advanced LIGO already uses the best commercial inertial sensing devices available, so it is necessary to develop new devices. Dr Mow-Lowry is applying the techniques and understanding developed during the construction of gravitational-wave detectors into inertial sensing devices to improve their linearity, sensitivity, and low-frequency performance.

Interferometers operating at high powers, such as the LIGO observatories, exhibit many complex non-linear effects involving optical springs and damping. Some of these can be tailored to improve performance (opto-mechanical signal enhancement) and some of them lead to operational failure (parametric instabilities). Dr Mow-Lowry is testing new methods for improving sensitivity and robustness in high-power interferometers.

Previously Dr Mow-Lowry has developed squeezed light sources capable of reducing quantum noise, measured the thermal noise of a high-quality suspension, and developed an active seismic isolation system.


  • T. T-H. Nguyen, C. M. Mow-Lowry, B. J. J. Slagmolen, J. Miller, A. J. Mullavey, S. Goßler, P. A. Altin, D. A. Shaddock, and D. E. McClelland, (2015), Frequency dependence of thermal noise in gram-scale cantilever flexures, Physical Review D 92, 112004.
  • J. Aasi et al. including C. M. Mow-Lowry, (2013), Enhanced sensitivity of the LIGO gravitational wave detector by using squeezed states of light, Nature Photonics 7, 613.
  • A. Wanner, G. Bergmann, A. Bertolini, T. Fricke, H. Lück, C. M. Mow-Lowry, K. A. Strain, S. Goßler, and K. Danzmann, (2012), Seismic attenuation system for the AEI 10 meter Prototype, Classical and Quantum Gravity 29, 245007.
  • M. S. Stefszky, C. M. Mow-Lowry, S. S. Y. Chua, D. A. Shaddock, B. C. Buchler, H. Vahlbruch, A. Khalaidovski, R. Schnabel, P. K. Lam, and D. E. McClelland, (2012), Balanced homodyne detection of optical quantum states at audio-band frequencies and below, Classical and Quantum Gravity 29, 145015.
  • C. M. Mow-Lowry, A. J. Mullavey, S. Goßler, M. B. Gray, and D. E. McClelland, (2008), Cooling of a gram-scale cantilever flexure to 70 mK with a servo-modified optical spring, Physical Review Letters 100, 010801.

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