The goal of holographic particle velocimetry is to infer fluid velocity patterns from images reconstructed from doubly exposed holograms of fluid volumes seeded with small particles. The advantages offered by in-line holography in this context usually make it the method of choice, but seeding densities sufficient to achieve high spatial resolution in the sampling of the velocity fields cause serious degradation, through speckle, of the signal-to-noise ratio in the reconstructed images. The in-line method also leads to a great depth of field in paraxial viewing of reconstructed images, making it essentially impossible to estimate particle depth with useful accuracy. We present here an analysis showing that these limitations can be circumvented by variably scaled correlation, or wavelet transformation. The shift variables of the wavelet transform are provided automatically by the optical correlation methodology. The variable scaling of the wavelet transform derives, in this case, directly from the need to accommodate varying particle depths. To provide such scaling, we use a special optical system incorporating prescribed variability in spacings and focal length of lenses to scan through the range of particle depths.
Calculation shows, among other benefits, improvement by approximately two orders of magnitude in depth resolution. A much higher signal-to-noise ratio together with faster data extraction and processing should be attainable.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
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