Common-path imaging interferometers offer some advantages over other interferometers, such as insensitivity to vibrations and the ability to be attached to any optical system to analyze an imaged wavefront. We introduce the spatial-phase-shift imaging interferometry technique for surface measurements and wavefront analysis in which different parts of the wavefront undergo certain manipulations in a certain plane along the optical axis. These manipulations replace the reference-beam phase shifting of existing interferometry methods. We present the mathematical algorithm for reconstructing the wavefront from the interference patterns and detail the optical considerations for implementing the optical system. We implemented the spatial phase shift into a working system and used it to measure a variety of objects. Measurement results and comparison with other measurement methods indicate that this approach improves measurement accuracy with respect to existing quantitative phase-measurement methods.
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