Abstract

Laser plasma interferograms are currently analyzed by extraction of the phase-shift map with fast Fourier transform (FFT) techniques [Appl. Opt. 18, 3101 (1985)]. This methodology works well when interferograms are only marginally affected by noise and reduction of fringe visibility, but it can fail to produce accurate phase-shift maps when low-quality images are dealt with. We present a novel procedure for a phase-shift map computation that makes extensive use of the ridge extraction in the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) framework. The CWT tool is flexible because of the wide adaptability of the analyzing basis, and it can be accurate because of the intrinsic noise reduction in the ridge extraction. A comparative analysis of the accuracy performances of the new tool and the FFT-based one shows that the CWT-based tool produces phase maps considerably less noisy and that it can better resolve local inhomogeneties.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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