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Appl Opt. 2001 Jan 10;40(2):268-82.

Optimal phase contrast in common-path interferometry.


We have developed an analytical model for the design and optimization of common-path interferometers (CPI's) based on spatial filtering. We describe the mathematical analysis in detail and show how its application to the optimization of a range of different CPI's results in the development of a graphical framework to characterize quantitatively CPI performance. A detailed analytical treatment of the effect of curvature in the synthetic reference wave is undertaken. We show that it is possible to improve the linearity and fringe accuracy of certain standard interferometers by a modification of the Fourier filter, and we propose and analyze a dual CPI system for the unambiguous mapping of phase to intensity over the complete input phase range.

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