Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Characterizing a propagating laser's wavefront is a necessary procedure when evaluating the performance of coherent lasing systems. Measurement of this wavefront structure uncovers more useful information on the operation of lasing systems than does any other single diagnostic measurement, and is, therefore, critical when analyzing developmental lasers. There are currently several methods being used to measure this wavefront structure. One method that is noted for its operational simplicity measures the gradient of the wavefront as the wavefront is two-dimensionally scanned. An instrument that incorporates this methodology for scanning a wavefront's gradient field has been previously developed. Reconstructing the wavefront using this gradient information requires data processing not contained in this scanning instrument, and is treated in this study. The functional operation of the scanning instrument is presented in order to establish a basis for developing the necessary reconstruction methodology. The reconstruction algorithm and the accompanying methodology that reconstructs a scalar field given the field gradient information is developed. The specific application of this methodology to reconstructing a coherent optical wavefront is treated in detail. The design of a microprocessor-based instrument capable of reconstructing an optical wavefront when used to process the signals transmitted by the scanning instrument is presented. This microprocessor-based instrument has been developed, and the functional operation of this processing system is outlined along with an evaluation of the overall performance of the developed hardware.

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Daniel Paul Peterson

Second Committee Member

Joseph Thomas Cordaro Jr

Third Committee Member

Ruben David Kelly