A phase-diverse iterative-transform phase-retrieval algorithm enables high-spatial-frequency, high-dynamic-range, image-based wavefront sensing. [The terms "phase-diverse," "phase retrieval," "image-based," and "wavefront sensing" are defined in the first of the two immediately preceding articles, "Broadband Phase Retrieval for Image-Based Wavefront Sensing" (GSC-14899-1).] As described below, no prior phase-retrieval algorithm has offered both high dynamic range and the capability to recover high-spatial-frequency components.

Each of the previously developed image-based phase-retrieval techniques can be classified into one of two categories: iterative transform or parametric Among the modifications of the original iterative-transform approach has been the introduction of a defocus diversity function (also defined in the cited companion article). Modifications of the original parametric approach have included minimizing alternative objective functions as well as implementing a variety of nonlinear optimization methods The iterative-transform approach offers the advantage of ability to recover low, middle, and high spatial frequencies, but has disadvantage of having a limited dynamic range to one wavelength or less. In contrast, parametric phase retrieval offers the advantage of high dynamic range, but is poorly suited for recovering higher spatial frequency aberrations.

This Phase-Diverse Iterative-Transform Phase-Retrieval Algorithm incorporates an adaptive diversity function, which acts as feedback that makes it possible to avoid phase unwrapping while preserving high-spatial-frequency recovery.

The present phase-diverse iterative-transform phase-retrieval algorithm offers both the high-spatial-frequency capability of the iterative-transform approach and the high dynamic range of parametric phase-recovery techniques. In implementation, this is a focus-diverse iterative-transform phase-retrieval algorithm that incorporates an adaptive diversity function, which makes it possible to avoid phase unwrapping while preserving high-spatial-frequency recovery.

The algorithm includes an inner and an outer loop (see figure). An initial estimate of phase is used to start the algorithm on the inner loop, wherein multiple intensity images are processed, each using a different defocus value. The processing is done by an iterative-transform method, yielding individual phase estimates corresponding to each image of the defocus-diversity data set. These individual phase estimates are combined in a weighted average to form a new phase estimate, which serves as the initial phase estimate for either the next iteration of the iterative-transform method or, if the maximum number of iterations has been reached, for the next several steps, which constitute the outer-loop portion of the algorithm.

The details of the next several steps must be omitted here for the sake of brevity. The overall effect of these steps is to adaptively update the diversity defocus values according to recovery of global defocus in the phase estimate. Aberration recovery varies with differing amounts as the amount of diversity defocus is updated in each image; thus, feedback is incorporated into the recovery process. This process is iterated until the global defocus error is driven to zero during the recovery process.

The amplitude of aberration may far exceed one wavelength after completion of the inner-loop portion of the algorithm, and the classical iterative transform method does not, by itself, enable recovery of multi-wavelength aberrations. Hence, in the absence of a means of "off-loading" the multi-wavelength portion of the aberration, the algorithm would produce a wrapped phase map. However, a special aberration-fitting procedure can be applied to the wrapped phase data to transfer at least some portion of the multi-wavelength aberration to the diversity function, wherein the data are treated as known phase values. In this way, a multi-wavelength aberration can be recovered incrementally by successively applying the aberration-fitting procedure to intermediate wrapped phase maps. During recovery, as more of the aberration is transferred to the diversity function following successive iterations around the outer loop, the estimated phase ceases to wrap in places where the aberration values become incorporated as part of the diversity function. As a result, as the aberration content is transferred to the diversity function, the phase estimate resembles that of a reference flat.

This work was done by Bruce H. Dean of Goddard Space Flight Center. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category.