We wanted to measure the PER of the polarization maintaining fibers, so we could say to what extent they are truly polarization maintaining.
The experimental setup of this measurement includes: The NPRO, quarter and half wave plates for tuning ellipticity and orientation of the resultant polarization, attenuating optics, two steering mirrors for coupling, a polarizing beam splitter before and after the laser coupled fibers, the coupling assembly and fiber, and a powermeter.
I measured the beam power at all the pertinent locations, shown in the figure below. Note that dots represent S polarization, and orthogonal line segments represent P polarization.
I first assembled this, coupling the output to a fiber coupled powermeter, in order to adjust the coupling.
Then I needed to couple the fibers to the NPRO, which I did to 39.8%. This gave me enough output power to have a coherent, visible beam. (Visible to non-fiber coupled power meter, and on the viewer card). It was important to be sure that the fast axis of the fiber was aligned in some known orientation. Mine was aligned to the horizontal, using the key on the fiber as an indicator. This is to be certain that the output polarization is consistent with the input.
Once everything was coupled and collimated, I began tuning the polarization of the beam at different points.
Immediately after the NPRO, I used the quarter and half wave plates to first eliminate as much ellipticity as possible, and then turn the polarization to align it with the beam splitter and the fiber axis. I then tuned the first PBS to reflect as little as possible. At the output, I installed the second PBS. Since there was no fine adjustment for the angle of this one, I tuned it using the yaw controls of the 6-axis mount the collimator was held in.
Once all this tuning was done, I took power measurements (displayed above) using the unfiltered, Orion/PD power meter.
From a theoretically completely P-polarized input, the Polarization Extinction Ratio, calculated at 10*log(P/S), was -24.26 +/- 0.43 dB.
These results can be effected by environmental conditions, such as high tightly wound the cable it, its length, etc.
The next measurement to make would be to characterize the frequency noise introduced by the fiber.
In addition to this measurement, the setup of the beat note system for FOL can be done as soon as we have more collimator adapters.
These measurements may be important in FOL, and in future experiments that may use these types of apparatuses.