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I have been using the coherence scanning interferometry (or also known as white light scanner), where it collects images containing the fringes. The system is able to produce the depth profile for one image stacks with the fringes.

If we plot the intensity of one pixel of a particular point in which the fringe will passing by on a 2d-plot (stack vs intensity), we can see some sinusoidal wave profile.

I like to understand how the phase shifting method works on the fringe images to derive the depth information? Is it based on the phase difference on one point ? Can the sinusoidal profile be used in the method at all ?

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I never heard of this system before, and a quick search shows no results for "coherence interferometric scanner". Could you give us a few links/references to see what this is about? I'll try to understand how it works. –  Arnoques Dec 3 '11 at 14:26
    
Updated the term to be more precise (as shown in the original question above).. the term is also known as white light scanner. –  kusg1 Dec 4 '11 at 9:03
    
That could be some kind of schlieren optics, with a new name for sales to youngsters. And phase shifts in such context result from small differences of refractive index, what else? –  Georg Dec 4 '11 at 18:05
    
after taking a look at schlieren optics (a demo here www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3tzYqBwvZQ), I guess it is different. white light scanner, is based on interferometry - the light source is split into two component, one part goes to receiver, the other one goes to sample and goes back to receiver to be combined with the original.. –  kusg1 Dec 5 '11 at 1:33
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