Abstract

We developed a new apparatus and psychophysical technique to extend isoluminant contrast-sensitivity measurements to high spatial frequencies. The apparatus consists of two identical laser interferometers that are designed to produce phase-locked two-color interference fringes on the retina without the influence of diffraction and most aberrations in the eye. However, even with interferometry, transverse chromatic aberration of the eye can produce a wavelength-dependent phase shift in the interference fringes, which can be exaggerated by head movements. To reduce the effect of head movements, isoluminant red and green interference fringes of equal spatial frequency and orientation were drifted slowly in opposite directions to guarantee a purely isochromatic (in phase) and a purely isoluminant (out of phase) stimulus during each cycle of stimulus presentation. With this technique we found that observers could resolve red and green stripes at spatial frequencies higher than 20 cycles per degree (c/deg) (20–27 c/deg), substantially higher than has previously been reported. This places a lower bound on the sampling density of neurons that mediate color vision. At all spatial frequencies, even those above the isoluminant resolution limit, a relative phase of the red and the green components could be found that obliterated the appearance of luminance modulation at the fringe frequency. Above the resolution limit, red–green-isoluminant interference fringes are seen as spatial noise, which may be chromatic aliasing caused by spatial sampling at some stage in the chromatic pathway.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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