Abstract

Recent papers have shown that there are different coherent and partially coherent fields that may have identical intensity distributions throughout space. On the other hand, the well-known transport-of-intensity equation allows the phase of a coherent field to be recovered from intensity measurements, and the solution is widely held to be unique. A discussion is given on the recovery of the structure of both coherent and partially coherent fields from intensity measurements, and we reconcile the uniqueness question by showing that the transport-of-intensity equation has a unique solution for the phase only if the intensity distribution has no zeros.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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