Transport of intensity equation: a tutorial
Highlights•This paper presents an exhaustive and comprehensive tutorial of transport of intensity equation (TIE)•The basic principles, derivations, and physical implications of the TIE are described.•The numerical solutions, axial intensity derivative estimation, partially coherent imaging, and diffraction tomography based on TIE are discussed in detail.•Some representative applications of TIE are presented with emphasis on optical imaging, metrology, and microscopy.•The challenging problems as well as future research directions are also outlined.AbstractWhen it comes to “phase measurement” or “quantitative phase imaging”, many people will automatically connect them with “laser” and “interferometry”. Indeed, conventional quantitative phase imaging and phase measurement techniques generally rely on the superposition of two beams with a high degree of coherence: complex interferometric configurations, stringent requirements on the environmental stabilities, and associated laser speckle noise severely limit their applications in optical imaging and microscopy. On a different note, as one of the most well-known phase retrieval approaches, the transport of intensity equation (TIE) provides a new non-interferometric way to access quantitative phase information through intensity only measurement. Despite the insufficiency for interferometry, TIE is applicable under partially coherent illuminations (like the Köhler’s illumination in a conventional microscope), permitting optimum spatial resolution, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and better image quality. In this tutorial, we give an overview of the basic principle, research fields, and representative applications of TIE, focus particularly on optical imaging, metrology, and microscopy. The purpose of this tutorial is twofold. It should serve as a self-contained introduction to TIE for readers with little or no knowledge of TIE. On the other hand, it attempts to give an overview of recent developments in this field. These results highlight a new era in which strict coherence and interferometry are no longer prerequisites for quantitative phase imaging and diffraction tomography, paving the way toward new generation label-free three-dimensional microscopy, with applications in all branches of biomedicine.
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