Over the last couple of days, I've been working on restoring the optical layout on the X-endtable. Some notes about the status as of today:
Lightwave NPRO output power
The output power from the lightwave NPRO is about 210mW (as measured with the calorimeter). This is significantly lower than the value of ~300mW reported in this elog. It may be that the laser crystal temperature has changed compared to that measurement, but the "ADJ" parameter is at 0, both today and in that measurement. The laser has also been on for more than a day now, that should be sufficient time for the crystal to equilibriate to its final operating state? Is such a large change in output power possible just because of a change in laser crystal temperature? Or did the laser really lose ~1/3rd of its output power over the last two months?
Alignment into IR Faraday, and changes to the planned layout
I've set up the layout until steering the beam through the IR faraday. The input power into the IR Faraday is ~210mW. The output power is ~186mW, after optimizing the angle of the HWP. These numbers seem consistent with what I had reported in this elog (although this was for the Innolight NPRO). The alignment looks reasonably good to the eye as well.
I've made one change to the planned layout (latest version here). Y1 is now a 2" 99% reflective for S polarization beam splitter, instead of a 1" HR mirror. I made this change because we want some light from the NPRO to be transmitted through this optic to couple into the fiber eventually, for the IR beat. I measured the transmitted power to be ~1.5mW, which is around what we were coupling into the fiber before, and should suffice now. The Lightwave NPRO datasheet (page 4) suggests that the polarization of the output of the laser is S, and the measured power before and after this optic suggests that it is working as advertised. This means that HWP 1 also has to be moved downstream (to rotate the polarization so as to maximize transmission through the IR faraday). Space constraints meant that I could not mount HWP 1 on the baseplate+3/4" OD post assembly which is what we want where possible on the new table, so for this optic, I used a 1" OD post and a fork. There may be a couple of other optics in the final layout where space constraints dictate we compromise in this way.
I've also installed beam dumps for the rejected light from the Faraday. For now, these are the old beam dumps. They looked reasonably intact. I believe we have a bunch of new beam dumps on hand as well, so these can be swapped out if deemed necessary.
Cleaning of optics
All the optics are being cleaned using first contact before being installed on the table.
As I found out the hard way, it is not a good idea to clean small optics like half-wave plates while in their mounts. The first contact tends to bond to the frame while drying, and doesn't come off cleanly. Koji helped me clean the offending pieces (he used tweezers to manually remove the residual first contact, and then some acetone to clean up any remaining residue). Subsequently, he re-cleaned these optics, again using first contact, but this time being careful not to extend all the way out to the edge of the optic. The idea is to cover as much area as possible with first contact, while staying clear of the edge. This approach worked reasonably well.
The next major step is to achieve optimal alignment into the doubler. I've placed the doubler on the table in it's approximate final position, I wanted to make sure the enclosure support wasn't in the way (it isn't). The cable from the oven won't run all the way to the Thorlabs temperature controller in it's usual place, we need to either extend the cable, or figure out a new place where we can keep the temperature controller.