A scheme for recovering phase using irradiance data alone, without interferometric techniques, is developed using the transport equations for phase and irradiance. For the case of one transverse dimension a general solution, for an arbitrary irradiance distribution, of the transport equation for the optical phase is already given by an application of the divergence theorem. Numerical simulation results are given that indicate that the phase-recovery scheme works well even in the presence of large pupil-plane aberrations if the signal-to-noise ratio is sufficiently high. In particular, pupil-plane phase aberrations may be determined from irradiance measurements in two planes that are near the image plane.
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