Abstract

Schlieren systems with a coherent light source were investigated by the Fourier optics technique. The imaging properties of the systems with various cutoff filters were studied. Systems with a graded piecewise linear filter and a Gaussian step function convolution (graded) filter are considered, demonstrating that the image can be approximated by the geometrical-optics theory of conventional schlieren systems. A nonlinear phase contribution was estimated, allowing for the measurement of strong phase objects. Within the framework of linear approximation the results are described by the phase derivative point-spread function, introduced in this paper as the schlieren point-spread function. In addition, modification of the Lopez cutoff filter is proposed, demonstrating its superiority over the piecewise linear and the Gaussian step convolution filters. Simulations of coherent schlieren imaging as well as phase derivative measurements were performed. Finally, the imaging properties of the schlieren systems with the different filters are compared.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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