In the rainbow schlieren apparatus, a continuously graded rainbow filter is placed in the back focal plane of the decollimating lens. Refractive-index gradients in the test section thus appear as gradations in hue rather than irradiance. A simple system is described wherein a conventional color CCD array and video digitizer are used to quantify accurately the color attributes of the resulting image, and hence the associated ray deflections. The present system provides a sensitivity comparable with that of conventional interferometry, while being simpler to implement and less sensitive to mechanical misalignment.
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