A random phase plate is prepared by illuminating a photoresist plate with a fully developed speckle field and using the developed phase plate (DPP) as a diffuser. Wavefront sensing is implemented using phase retrieval based on the recording of speckle intensity patterns at various distances from the DPP and the wave propagation equation. The effects of the roughness height of the DPP on the phase retrieval are investigated. From simulations a roughness height of results in a speckle field that yields good phase reconstruction for the spherical test wavefront incident on the DPP. From the experiments different portions of the DPP that received varying exposures are examined. A section of the phase plate with a characteristic roughness height facilitated the generation of a speckle field that is optimum for the phase retrieval algorithm. Thus a random phase plate with varying roughness height allows optimized measurements of wavefronts with different curvatures. Analytical expressions describing the second-order intensity statistics (fourth-order field statistics) for a field traversing a specific diffuser are presented. This DPP will not give rise to a fully developed speckle field, but knowing the statistics of the depth of the DPP will facilitate a rigorous treatment of the problem.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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