Coherence scanning interferometry: linear theory of surface measurement

The characterization of imaging methods as three-dimensional (3D) linear filtering operations provides a useful way to compare the 3D performance of optical surface topography measuring instruments, such as coherence scanning interferometry, confocal and structured light microscopy. In this way, the imaging system is defined in terms of the point spread function in the space domain or equivalently by the transfer function in the spatial frequency domain. The derivation of these characteristics usually involves making the Born approximation, which is strictly only applicable to weakly scattering objects; however, for the case of surface scattering, the system is linear if multiple scattering is assumed to be negligible and the Kirchhoff approximation is assumed. A difference between the filter characteristics derived in each case is found. However this paper discusses these differences and explains the equivalence of the two approaches when applied to a weakly scattering object.