Our work is in the context of the French “laser mégajoule” project, about fusion by inertial confinement. The project leads to the problem of characterizing the inner surface, of the approximately spherical target, by optical shadowgraphy techniques. Our work is entirely based on the basic idea that optical shadowgraphy produces “caustics” of systems of optical rays, which contain a great deal of 3D information about the surface to be characterized. We develop a method of 3D reconstruction based upon this idea plus a “small perturbations” technique. Although computations are made in the special “spherical” case, the method is in fact general and may be extended to several other situations.
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