We propose a novel phase-shift calibration algorithm. With this technique we determine the unknown phase shift between two interferograms by examining the sums and differences of the intensities on each interferogram at the same spatial location, i.e., I1(x, y) ± I2(x, y). These intensities are normalized so that they become sinusoidal in form. A uniformly illuminated region of the interferograms that contains at least a 2π variation in phase is examined. The extrema of these sums and differences are found in this region and are used to find the unknown phase shift. An error analysis of the algorithm is provided. In addition, an error-correction algorithm is implemented. The method is tested by numerical simulation and implemented experimentally. The numerical tests, including digitization error, indicate that the phase step has a root-mean-square (RMS) phase error of less than 10-6 deg. Even in the presence of added intensity noise (5% amplitude) the RMS error does not exceed 1 deg. The accuracy of the technique is not sensitive to nonlinearity in the interferogram.
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