We describe a new wavefront analysis method, in which certain wavefront manipulations are applied to a spatially defined area in a certain plane along the optical axis. These manipulations replace the reference-beam phase shifting of existing methods, making this method a spatial phase-shift interferometry method. We demonstrate the system’s dependence on a defined spatial Airy number, which is the ratio of the characteristic dimension of the manipulated area and the Airy disk diameter of the optical system. We analytically obtain the resulting intensity data of the optical setup and develop various methods to accurately reconstruct the inspected wavefront out of the data. These reconstructions largely involve global techniques, in which the entire wavefront’s pattern affects the reconstruction of the wavefront in any given position. The method’s noise sensitivity is analyzed, and actual reconstruction results are presented.
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