Invited Review Article: Measurement uncertainty of linear phase-stepping algorithms

Hack, Erwin; Burke, Jan
June 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Jun2011, Vol. 82 Issue 6, p061101
Academic Journal
Phase retrieval techniques are widely used in optics, imaging and electronics. Originating in signal theory, they were introduced to interferometry around 1970. Over the years, many robust phase-stepping techniques have been developed that minimize specific experimental influence quantities such as phase step errors or higher harmonic components of the signal. However, optimizing a technique for a specific influence quantity can compromise its performance with regard to others. We present a consistent quantitative analysis of phase measurement uncertainty for the generalized linear phase stepping algorithm with nominally equal phase stepping angles thereby reviewing and generalizing several results that have been reported in literature. All influence quantities are treated on equal footing, and correlations between them are described in a consistent way. For the special case of classical N-bucket algorithms, we present analytical formulae that describe the combined variance as a function of the phase angle values. For the general Arctan algorithms, we derive expressions for the measurement uncertainty averaged over the full 2Ï€-range of phase angles. We also give an upper bound for the measurement uncertainty which can be expressed as being proportional to an algorithm specific factor. Tabular compilations help the reader to quickly assess the uncertainties that are involved with his or her technique.


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