Phase retrieval is a wavefront sensing method that uses a series of intensity images to reconstruct the wavefront. The resolution of phase retrieval testing is limited mainly by the resolution of intensity images captured by CCD cameras. A subpixel phase retrieval method is presented to retrieve the wave field at subpixel resolution by using the information of a sequence of low-resolution images captured along the propagation direction. In this method, the sampling interval for the wave field under test is smaller than the CCD pixel size in phase reconstruction. The wave field is recovered at subpixel resolution by utilizing the energy conservation relationship between CCD pixels and their subpixels by the subpixel phase retrieval (SPR) algorithm. Numerical experiments have shown that more than a fourfold resolution enhancement can be achieved. The method has also been studied in some experiments under noisy and off-axis conditions. A mirror surface testing experiment was conducted to demonstrate the performance of SPR in the real world. The results of these experiments have shown the effectiveness and robustness of this method. SPR allows low-resolution images to be used to retrieve high-resolution wave fields and will be useful in testing wave fields from large objects.
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