In this Letter, the transfer characteristics of rectangular periodic phase objects are studied. It turns out that there are significant differences compared to amplitude objects. The imaging of an amplitude object can be understood as a linear process, whereas phase objects behave nonlinearly. It is shown that under certain conditions the correct shape of a rectangular phase grating can be obtained by an interference microscope as long as the first order diffraction component passes the optical imaging system. This result is in a good agreement with experimental observations and computer simulation results.
© 2012 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article