Jenne, Koji, Rana
After fixing up the Mode Cleaner a bit more (fiddling more with the MC_align sliders to get the alignment before locking, making sure that it is able to lock), we noticed that the MC Trans path could use some help. To align the MC, we put MC1 and MC3 back into the position where Rob left it on Thursday and then maximized the transmission with MC2. Then we went back and maximized with MC1/3 keeping in mind the Faraday. We got a good transmission and the X-arm had a transmission of 0.8 without us touching its alignment.
Upon looking at the AP table portion of the MC_trans path, we decided that it was all pretty bad. The light travels around the edge of the AP table, then out the corner of the table toward the PSL table. A periscope brings it down to the level of the PSL table, and then it travels through a few optics to the MC_trans QPD.
The light was clipping on the way through the periscope, and so the MC_trans QPD was totally unreliable as a method of fine-tuning the alignment of the Mode Cleaner. Ideally we'd like to be able to maximize MC_trans, and say that that's a good MC alignment, but that doesn't work when the beam is clipped.
1. The first turning mirror on the AP table after the beam comes out of the vacuum was changed from a 1" optic to a 2" optic, because the spot size is ~4-6mm. We were careful to avoid clipping the OMCT beam, by using a nifty U200 mount (C-shaped instead of ring-shaped).
2. We placed a lens with a RoC of 1m (focal length for 1064nm is ~2m), a 2" optic, between the first two mirrors, to help keep the beam small-ish when it gets to the periscope, to help avoid clipping.
3. Rana adjusted the angle of the upper periscope mirror, because even when the beam was centered on the steering mirror directly in front of the periscope and the spot was centered on the first periscope mirror, the beam wouldn't hit the bottom periscope mirror.
4. We noticed that the bottom periscope mirror was mounted much too low. It was mounted as if the optics after it were 3" high, which is true for all of the input optics on the PSL table. However, for the MC_trans stuff, all the optics are 4". We moved the periscope up one hole, which made it the correct height.
5. We removed the skinny beam tube which guided/protected the beam coming off the periscope after a steering mirror since it (a) wasn't necessary and (b) was clipping the beam. We cannot use such skinny tubes anymore Steve.
6. There was a lens just before the 2nd steering mirror on the PSL table portion, which we removed since we had placed the other lens earlier in the path. 2 lenses made the beam too skinny at the QPD.
7. After this 2nd steering mirror, there had been a pickoff, to send a bit of beam at a crazy angle over to the RFAM mon, which we removed. This results in a much brighter beam at the MC_trans QPD, and at the camera. The QPDs readouts are now a factor of ~3.5 higher than they used to be. These (especially the camera) could use some ND-filtering action.
8. The steering optic directly in front of the MC_trans QPD is a beamsplitter, and instead of dumping the light which doesn't go to the MC_trans QPD, we used this to go over to the RFAM mon (instead of the pickoff which we had removed).
9. Koji fixed up the optics directly in front of the RFAM mon, accomodating the new position of the input light (now at a much more reasonable angle, and about 15cm farther back from the PD). Note the beam dump which is preventing the cables from the FSS board from entering the beam path. This included removing an ND filter wheel, so the RFAM mon values will all be higher now. Koji also has the beam going to the PD going at a slight angle, so that the beam isn't directly reflected on itself, so that it can be dumped.
10. We aligned the beam onto the MC_trans QPD using the first steering mirror on the PSL table.
11. We also removed the giant wall of beam dumps separating the squeezing section of the table from the rest of the table.
Alberto will elog things about the RFAM mon, including different values of the PD output, etc.
Still on the to-do list:
A. Replace the second steering mirror on the AP table after the MC_trans light leaves the vacuum with a 2" optic, since the lens we placed isn't tight enough to make the spot small there yet. Us a U200A mount if possible, because they are really nice mounts.
B. Put an ND filter in front of the MC_trans camera, because the image is too bright.
C. Normalize the MC_trans QPD - the horz and vert are pretty much direct voltage readouts, with no normalization. They should be divided by the DC value. This lack of normalization results in higher sensitivity to input pointing.
D. Long term, next time someone wants to optimize the MC_trans path, move all the optics, including the MC_trans QPD and the camera closer to the periscope on the PSL table. There's no reason for the beam to be traveling nearly the full width of the PSL table when we're not manuvering around squeezing stuff.
E. Never, ever purchase these horrible U100 or U200 mounts with the full ring and the little plastic clips. They are the "AC28" version. Bad, bad, bad.
Image 1: The new setup of the AP table, Mc_trans portion.
Image 2: New setup of the MC_trans part of the PSL table.