A method for determining the pupil phase distribution of an optical system is demonstrated. Coefficients in a wavefront expansion were estimated using likelihood methods, where the data consisted of multiple irradiance patterns near focus. Proof-of-principle results were obtained in both simulation and experiment. Large-aberration wavefronts were handled in the numerical study. Experimentally, we discuss the handling of nuisance parameters. Fisher information matrices, Cramér-Rao bounds, and likelihood surfaces are examined. ML estimates were obtained by simulated annealing to deal with numerous local extrema in the likelihood function. Rapid processing techniques were employed to reduce the computational time.
©2012 Optical Society of America
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