The recently proposed technique of temporal phase unwrapping has been used to analyze the phase maps from a projected-fringe phase-shifting surface profilometer. A sequence of maps is acquired while the fringe pitch is changed; the phase at each pixel is then unwrapped over time independently of the other pixels in the image to provide an absolute measure of surface height. The main advantage is that objects containing height discontinuities are profiled as easily as smooth ones. This contrasts with the conventional spatial phase-unwrapping approach for which the phase jump across a height discontinuity is indeterminate to an integral multiple of 2π. The error in height is shown to decrease inversely with the number of phase maps used.
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