Abstract

We report a technique to determine the 3D contour of objects with dimensions of at least 4 orders of magnitude larger than the illumination optical wavelength. Our proposal is based on the numerical reconstruction of the optical wave field of digitally recorded holograms. The required modulo 2π phase map in any contouring process is obtained by means of the direct subtraction of two phase-contrast images under different illumination angles to create a phase-difference image of a still object. Obtaining the phase-difference images is only possible by using the capability of numerical reconstruction of the complex optical field provided by digital holography. This unique characteristic leads us to a robust, reliable, and fast procedure that requires only two images. A theoretical analysis of the contouring system is shown, with verification by means of numerical and experimental results.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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