The Coded Wavefront Sensor employs a mask and a sensor. (a) A simple calibration is performed by capturing the diffraction pattern of a planar wavefront, namely the reference image. (b) By just recording the diffraction pattern of a distorted wavefront (i.e. the measurement image) and compare it to the reference image captured in (a), the distorted wavefront can be reconstructed. Small arrows indicate local distortion directions. (c) Experimental validation. (d) Realistic wavefront imaging. See the Video for full details.
Wavefront sensors and, more general phase retrieval methods have recently attracted a lot of attention in a host of application domains, ranging from astronomy to scientific imaging and microscopy. In this paper, we introduce a new class of sensor, the Coded Wavefront Sensor, which provides high spatio-temporal resolution using a simple masked sensor, under white light illumination. Specifically, we demonstrate megapixel spatial resolution and phase accuracy better than 0.1 wavelengths at reconstruction rates of 50 Hz or more, thus opening up many new applications from high-resolution adaptive optics to real-time phase retrieval in microscopy.