Phase-shifting profilometry requires projection of sinusoidal fringes on a 3D object. We analyze the visibility and frequency content of fringes created by a sinusoidal phase grating at coherent illumination. We derive an expression for the intensity of fringes in the Fresnel zone and measure their visibility and frequency content for a grating that has been interferometrically recorded on a holographic plate. Both evaluation of the systematic errors due to the presence of higher harmonics by simulation of a profilometric measurement and measurement of 3D coordinates of test objects confirm the good performance of the sinusoidal phase grating as a projective element. In addition, we prove theoretically that in comparison with a sinusoidal amplitude grating this grating produces better quality of fringes in the near-infrared region. Sinusoidal phase gratings are fabricated easily, and their implementation in fringe projection profilometry facilitates construction of portable, small size, and low-cost devices.
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