Principal component analysis phase shifting (PCA) is a useful tool for fringe pattern demodulation in phase shifting interferometry. The PCA has no restrictions on background intensity or fringe modulation, and it is a self-calibrating phase sampling algorithm (PSA). Moreover, the technique is well suited for analyzing arbitrary sets of phase-shifted interferograms due to its low computational cost. In this work, we have adapted the standard phase shifting algorithm based on the PCA to the particular case of photoelastic fringe patterns. Compared with conventional PSAs used in photoelasticity, the PCA method does not need calibrated phase steps and, given that it can deal with an arbitrary number of images, it presents good noise rejection properties, even for complicated cases such as low order isochromatic photoelastic patterns.
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