Gravitational waves created during the violent birth of the Universe are thought to fill all of space, creating a background of vibrations that make everything in the universe jiggle, much like boats floating on a rippling sea.
Unfortunately, we do not know the strength of these ripples so it takes more and more sensitive gravitational wave detectors to try to pin them down.
The Australian International Gravitational Research Centre, within the School of Physics, is a part of national efforts to find out more about gravitational waves and the development of gravitational astronomy.
The UWA physicists, as part of an international team, were able to show that the waves are weaker than previously believed based on earlier measurements of the first atoms created in the cosmic Big Bang billions of years ago. This research was published in the science journal Nature in August 2009.
The team at UWA is now working on new optical devices (called opto-acoustic parametric amplifiers) to develop the next generation of gravitational wave detectors.