## Abstract

A simple noninterferometric optical probe is developed to estimate wavefront distortion suffered by a plane wave in its passage through density variations in a hypersonic flow obstructed by a test model in a typical shock tunnel. The probe has a plane light wave trans-illuminating the flow and casting a shadow of a continuous-tone sinusoidal grating. Through a geometrical optics, eikonal approximation to the distorted wavefront, a bilinear approximation to it is related to the location-dependent shift (distortion) suffered by the grating, which can be read out space-continuously from the projected grating image. The processing of the grating shadow is done through an efficient Fourier fringe analysis scheme, either with a windowed or global Fourier transform (WFT and FT). For comparison, wavefront slopes are also estimated from shadows of random-dot patterns, processed through cross correlation. The measured slopes are suitably unwrapped by using a discrete cosine transform (DCT)-based phase unwrapping procedure, and also through iterative procedures. The unwrapped phase information is used in an iterative scheme, for a full quantitative recovery of density distribution in the shock around the model, through refraction tomographic inversion. Hypersonic flow field parameters around a missile-shaped body at a free-stream Mach number of $\sim 8$ measured using this technique are compared with the numerically estimated values. It is shown that, while processing a wavefront with small space-bandwidth product (SBP) the FT inversion gave accurate results with computational efficiency; computation-intensive WFT was needed for similar results when dealing with larger SBP wavefronts.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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