A compact and efficient algorithm for digital envelope detection in white light interferograms is derived from a well-known phase-shifting algorithm. The performance of the new algorithm is compared with that of other schemes currently used. Principal criteria considered are computational efficiency and accuracy in the presence of miscalibration. The new algorithm is shown to be near optimal in terms of computational efficiency and can be represented as a second-order nonlinear filter. In combination with a carefully designed peak detection method the algorithm exhibits exceptionally good performance on simulated interferograms. Key words: interferometry, white light interferometry, interference microscopy, phase-shifting algorithm, low coherence, nonlinear filter, envelope detection, demodulation. © 1996 Optical Society of Americ
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