Abstract

One of the most successful phase-unwrapping algorithms uses branch cuts to join discontinuity sources that mark the beginning or the end of a 2π phase discontinuity. Here, using phase-stepping speckle interferometry, we verify that these sources coincide with points of very low or zero modulus and that the displacement of sources as a result of speckle decorrelation between measurements of two phase maps leads to closely spaced dipole pairs of sources in the phase-difference map. By measuring the movement of sources at high magnification, we find that the length distribution of correct branch cuts needed to unwrap a phase-difference map is approximately Gaussian. This provides a theoretical justification for unwrapping with the set of branch cuts that minimizes the sum of squares of cut lengths.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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