To mitigate the issue of ambient light pulluting the QPD signal, I mounted the prototype into a custum built box. This helps a lot. My plan is to add a short piece of black pipe in the front, to further shield from incident light.
The new box also provides a clean way to mount the QPD.
We set up a test facility for laser polishing the disk edges, using the CO2 laser in the TCS laboratory. We focused the beam with a 10" focal length lens, and installed the disk on a "rotation stage" that we motorized with a hand drill. We used a HeNe optical lever and a small container with water to define the horizontal plane and adjusted the disk as well as we could.
We first tested the procedure on the MO02 disk, which is the one already scared with the electrostatic drive burn mark. This disk is now definitely in bad shape. However, we felt confident in our procedure, so we took out the MO03 disk that was into the measurement system and proceeded to laser polish the edges. Things went quite smothly. Unfortunately we added some small damages to the disk surface in a couple of spots where the CO2 laser went out of alignment and melted the fused silica support of the disk. The edge however looks quite good now.
Q measurement is on-going at the timw of writing
Yesterday we assembled the lase polishing system. The Co2 laser power can be controlled using a waveplate, so we can turn on the laser at maximum power and let it stabilize, before actually turning up the power sent to the disk.
The beam is focused with a 10" focal length lens, and sent to the disk edge, poiting slightly upward to avoid hitting any other part of the disk.
The disk is moved with a combination of a linear and rotation stage, controlled with a MATLAB script. We tuned the translation and rotation speed so that the edge always moves at about 0.5 mm/s. Some refinement of the movimentation procedure will follow.
We tried the setup with one of the damaged samples, and the results are quite good.
More work this afternoon