A new technique for directly extracting phase gradients from two-dimensional (2-D) interferometer fringe data is presented. One finds the gradients by tracking the maximum modulus of the continuous wavelet transform of the fringe data and the phase distribution that is obtained, with a small error, by integration. Problems associated with phase unwrapping are thereby avoided. The technique is compared with standard methods, and excellent agreement is found. In common with Fourier-transform methods, the technique is capable of extracting the full 2-D phase distribution from a single image.
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