[Koji and Kevin]
Since there was still a lot of power being reflected from the PBS before the Faraday rotator, I placed another PBS at the reflection from the first PBS to investigate the problem. If everything was ideal, we would expect the PBS to transmit P polarization and reflect S polarization. Thus, if the laser was entirely in the TEM00 mode, with the quarter and half wave plates we should be able to rotate the polarizations so that all of the power is transmitted through the PBS. In reality, some amount of P is reflected in addition to S reducing the power transmitted. (We are not sure what the PBS is since there are no markings on it but CVI says that their cubes should have less than 5% P reflection).
For the following measurements, the laser crystal temperature was 31.8° C, the current was 2.1 A, the half wave plate was at 267° and the quarter wave plate was at 330°. I first measured the power reflected from the first PBS then added the second PBS to this reflected light and measured the transmitted and reflected powers from this PBS with the following results:
This shows that approximately 81 mW of P polarization was being reflected from the first PBS and that there is approximately 48 mW of S polarization that could not be rotated into P with the two wave plates. Attachment 1 shows the shape of the reflected (S polarization) beam from the second PBS. This shows that the S polarization is not in TEM00 and can not be rotated by the wave plates. The transmitted P polarization is in TEM00.
We then rotated the first PBS (in yaw) to minimize the amount of P being reflected. Repeating the above measurement with the current alignment gives
Thus by rotating the cube to minimize the amount of P reflected, ~70 mW more power is transmitted through the cube. This adjustment moved the beam path slightly so Koji realigned the Faraday rotator and EOM. The PMC was then locked and the beam was realigned on the PMC. At 2.1 A, the transmission through the PMC is 6.55 V and the reflection is 178 mV. With the PMC unlocked, the reflection is 312 mV. This gives a visibility of 0.43.
Note by KA:
We realigned the beam toward the PMC at 1.0A at first so that we don't cook any parts. Once we get the TEM00 resonance, the steering mirrors were aligned to maximize the PMC transmission. Then the pumping current was increased to 2.1A.