A practical method for determining wavefront aberrations in optical systems based on the acquisition of an extended, unknown object is presented. The approach utilizes a conventional phase diversity approach in combination with a pupil-engineered, helical point spread function (PSF) to discriminate the aberrated PSF from the object features. The analysis of the image’s power cepstrum enables an efficient retrieval of the aberration coefficients by solving a simple linear system of equations. An extensive Monte Carlo simulation is performed to demonstrate that the approach makes it possible to measure low-order Zernike modes including defocus, primary astigmatism, coma, and trefoil. The presented approach is tested experimentally by retrieving the two-dimensional aberration distribution of a test setup by imaging an extended, unknown scene.
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