Summary: After today's meeting, Gabriele and I looked into the arm loss situation, to see if we should really believe the losses that had been suggested by my previous measurements. We made some observations that we're not sure how to explain, and we're thinking about other ways to try and estimate the losses to corroborate previous findings.
We first looked to see if the ASS had some effective offset, leaving the alignment not quite right. Once ASS'd, we twiddled each arm cavity mirror in pitch and yaw to see if we could achieve higher transmission. We could not, so this suggested that ASS works properly.
We then looked at potential offsets in the Xarm loop. We found that an input offset of 25 counts increased the transmission, but only very slightly. With this offset adjusted, we confirmed the qualitative observation that locking/unlocking the xarm causes a much bigger change in ASDC than doing the same with the harm.
However, we noted that the ASDC data (which is the DC value of the AS55 RFPD) was quite noisy, hovering around 50 counts. Looking at the c1lsc model, we found that we were looking at direct ADC counts, so the signal conditioning was not so great. We went to the LSC rack and stole the SR560 that had been hooked up as a REFLDC offsetter, and used it to give ASDC a gain of 100, and a LP at 100Hz, since we only care about DC values. We then undid the gain in the input FM; and this calmed the trace down a fair bit. The effects due to each arm locking/unlocking was still consistent with previous observations.
At this point, we looked at the arm transmission and ASDC signals simultaneously. Normally, when misaligning a cavity, one would expect the reflected power to rise and the transmission to fall.
However, we saw that when misalignment the Yarm in yaw in either direction, or the Xarm in one direction, both the IR transmission and ASDC would fall. This initially made us think of clipping effects.
So, we checked out the AS beam situation on the AP table. On a card, the beam looks round as we could tell, and the beam spot on AS55 was nice and small. (We tweaked its steering a little bit in pitch to put it at the center of the "falling-off" points) The reflection and transmission falling effect remained.
At this point, we're not really sure what could be causing this effect. After the reflected beams recombine at the BS, the output path is common, so it's strange that this odd effect would be the same for both arms.
Lastly, we discussed other ways that we may be able to see if the Xarm really has ~500ppm loss. Since its transmission is ~1.4%, Gabriele estimated that we may be able to see a ~300Hz difference in the arm cavity pole frequency between the two arms, based on the modification of the cavity finesse due to loss. Since we don't currently have the AOM set up to inject intensity noise, we talked about using frequency noise injection to measure the arm cavity poles, though this would be coupled with the IMC pole, but this could hopefully be accounted for.