A discrete Fourier transform (DFT) based algorithm for solving a quadratic cost functional is proposed; this regularized functional allows one to obtain a consistent gradient field from an inconsistent one. The calculated consistent gradient may then be integrated by use of simple methods. The technique is presented in the context of the phase-unwrapping problem; however, it may be applied to other problems, such as shapes from shading (a robot-vision technique) when inconsistent gradient fields with irregular domains are obtained. The regularized functional introduced here has advantages over existing techniques; in particular, it is able to manage complex irregular domains and to interpolate over regions with invalid data without any smoothness assumptions over the rest of the lattice, so that the estimation error is reduced. Furthermore, there are no free parameters to adjust. The DFT is used to compute a preconditioner because there is highly efficient hardware to perform the calculations and also because it may be computed by optical means.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
Mariano Rivera, Jose L. Marroquin, Manuel Servin, and Ramon Rodriguez-Vera, "Fast algorithm for integrating inconsistent gradient fields," Appl. Opt. 36, 8381-8390 (1997)