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Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574

Potential of digital holography in particle measurement

Shigeru Murata , Norifumi Yasuda
Department of Mechanical and System Engineering, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan

This paper describes the potential power of digital holography in particle measurement and its expected development in the near
future. In digital holography, image reconstruction is carried out numerically on a computer using observed hologram patterns and some
quantitative information can be derived from the reconstructed images. In this paper, the basic concept and procedure of digital in-line
holography are shown mainly for particle depth measurement and the performance test results obtained in numerical simulations and
c 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
experiments are demonstrated to examine the potential of the present method.
Keywords: Digital holography; Particle measurement; Numerical image reconstruction

1. Introduction
It is well known that holography is a most powerful tool
for the recording of a 3D object and the measurement of its
shape, displacement, deformation and vibration in various
elds of engineering. Although the experimental setup of
holography is not that complicated for non-experts, the holographic measurement should be improved in the direction of
easy-to-use technique. Furthermore some of the manufacturing companies have terminated the production of sensitive
plates for holography, plates that have high spatial resolution compared with standard negative lm, and hence a new
processing procedure of holography is expected in the place
of the conventional procedure.
Kreis and Juptners research group [13] was the rst to
propose the technique of digital holography for 3D objects
of large volume. In this technique, image reconstruction is
digitally performed on a digital computer from a hologram
pattern observed with a CCD camera. They examined the
quality of reconstructed images and the procedure of fringe
analysis for the digitized hologram patterns in detail to show
the excellent images obtained by digital image reconstruction, using as an example, a cubic die. The authors [4,5] have
also proposed a holographic method for the depth measurement of small particles distributed in 3D space and examined
the computational performance and the measurement accu Corresponding
E-mail address: (S. Murata).


racy of the method. This method, based on in-line holography and its digital holography, has the advantages of easy
camera setting in experiment and in the troublesome process
of particle identi cation, as compared with a stereoscopic
method that is often used for 3D particle tracking velocimetry (3D-PTV) in uid engineering.
The objectives of this paper are to demonstrate the potential power of digital holography in particle measurement
and to examine the possibility of further development of the
technique. We will explain the basic concept and procedure
of digital holography in detail, and report the checking of
the fundamental performance in computing time and measurement accuracy in numerical simulations and in experiments. In this paper, the technique of digital image reconstruction is applied to particle depth measurement and particle size measurement to evaluate the performance of the
present method based on digital holography.
2. Digital holography
2.1. Theory of optics
It is well known that optical phenomena in holography,
for example, interference fringes and image reconstruction,
can be expressed using wave optics because a strongly coherent laser light is used in holography for illumination. The
most fundamental phenomenon is di raction. As explained
in most technical textbooks or handbooks, let us start with
an arbitrary aperture on the plane . The aperture is illuminated from the left-hand side with a plane wave such as

c 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

0030-3992/01/$ - see front matter
PII: S 0 0 3 0 - 3 9 9 2 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 8 8 - 8


S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574


radius of a tracer particle

depth of a tracer particle
detected depth of a tracer particle
transparency function
light amplitude
light amplitude on hologram plane
light amplitude on image plane
light intensity on hologram plane
light intensity on image plane
imaginary unit
zeroth order Bessel function
distance between an arbitrary pair of points on an
aperture and a screen
radial coordinate on hologram plane
domain of numerical integration

x; y
xz ; yz
x0 , y0

radial coordinate on image plane

radius of circle function
Cartesian coordinates on hologram plane
Cartesian coordinates on image plane
Cartesian coordinates on template
circle function on template
coordinate originating from hologram plane and
perpendicular to it
minimum limit of measurable particle depth
maximum limit of measurable particle depth
size of spatial discretization along the r-axis in
trapezoidal formula
size of spatial discretization along the z-axis
wavelength of illuminating light
radial coordinate on object plane
Cartesian coordinates on object plane



laser light, as illustrated in Fig. 1. A spherical wave propagates from a point A on the plane  to the screen plane
xy. Assuming that the intensity of the illuminating light is
unity, then if the aperture is expressed as
1 for aperture;
g(; ) =
0 otherwise

following equation:

the light amplitude, h, at an arbitrary point B on the plane x

y can be obtained by integrating the spherical waves emitted
from the aperture, as follows:
d d;
g(; )
h(x; y) =

As illustrated in Fig. 2, it is well known that the optical

apparatus is set up in line along an optical axis for in-line


z 2 + (x )2 + (y )2 :

h(x; y; z; g(; )) =

1 j(2=)(z+(x2 +y2 )=2z)


g(; )ej(2=)(( + )=2z) ej(2=)((x+y)=z) d d:



In Eqs. (2.2) and (2.3),  is the wavelength of illuminating light and j denotes the imaginary unit. The Cartesian
coordinates on the aperture and on the screen are denoted
by (; ) and (x; y), respectively, as shown in Fig. 1, and
z is the distance backward measured from the aperture. If
the size of the aperture is much less than the distance between the aperture and the screen L, the Fresnel di raction
formula may be employed as a governing equation, and the
light amplitude on the screen, hz , can be represented by the

Fig. 1. Di raction at an aperture.

Fig. 2. In-line holography.

S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574

holography, unlike o -axis holography. The optical phenomena in the recording and reconstruction stages of in-line
holography can be expressed by the theory of wave optics, and hence Eq. (2.4) can be employed for theoretically
and numerically obtaining the light intensity distributions
on the hologram plane and the image plane. First, the interference fringes on the hologram plane are formed according
to the shape and layout of objects on the object plane, and
the fringes are expressed by
Id = hd hd ;


where the asterisk represents the complex conjugate, Id is the

light intensity and hd is the light amplitude on the hologram
plane, given by
hd = h(x; y; d; g(; )):


Next, in the stage of image reconstruction, the real image on

the image plane can be formed according to the following
intensity Iz :
Iz = hz hz ;


hz = h(xz ; yz ; z; Id (x; y)):


In Eq. (2.4), g(; ) is called the transparency function which

expresses the distribution of opaque objects and transparent space on the object plane and the pattern of bright and
dark fringes on the hologram plane in Eqs. (2.6) and (2.7),
For the case of small particles sparsely distributed, as in
this study, the hologram pattern for each particle becomes
locally axisymmetric, so the governing equation can be
rewritten in one-dimensional notation as
hz =
2 j(2=)(z+rz2 =2z)
rId (r)ej(2=)(r =2z) J0 (2rz r=z) dr;
where J0 denotes the zeroth-order Bessel function. Furthermore, r and rz are the radial coordinates measured
from the center of axisymmetric interference fringes for
each particle on the hologram plane and image plane,
2.2. Digital image reconstruction
In the present method, the image reconstruction is digitally and numerically carried out from the observed hologram pattern, expressed by Id , using the above Fresnel
di raction equations (2.7) and (2.8) or Eqs. (2.7) and (2.9).
Since the hologram patterns are experimentally obtained
with a CCD camera without development of a sensitive
plate, the input information can be directly transferred into
a computer and calculations of particle measurements are


immediately carried out on it. The present method has three

major advantages as follows:
(1) its procedure is independent of the particle size and
(2) its experimental setup is very simple because the present
method requires only one CCD camera and the layout
of optical apparatus is in line,
(3) the numerical reconstruction and the use of a CCD camera reduce the complication compared to the ordinary
holographic method.
In practice, the integral in Eq. (2.4) is discretized with a
simple trapezoidal formula or a FFT algorithm to obtain the
light intensity Iz . Kreis and his coresearchers publications
point out that the reconstructed image is enlarged or contracted according to the reconstruction depth, z, by conventionally applying the FFT algorithm to Eq. (2.4) and the
formulation with a convolution is useful for keeping the size
of the reconstructed image constant. This formulation, presented by Kreis, can be written as
h(x; y; z; g(; ))
g(; ) ej(2=){z+((x) +(y) )=2z} d d

g(; )gF (x ; y ) d d

=F1 [F(g)F(gF )]:


Although the size of the reconstructed image does not

change by using Eq. (2.10), the above approach requires
one Fourier transform and one inverse Fourier transform
each to obtain one two-dimensional reconstructed image,
and the image may be disturbed near the boundaries by
the assumption of periodicity over a sampling window. It
should be noted that the approach of solving Eq. (2.4) with
a simple trapezoidal formulation prevents the reconstructed
image from being a ected by the assumption of the periodicity. Next, the domain of integration is limited to a certain
radial distance rmax in practical computation, hence Babinets principle is employed to suppress the in uence of the
size of the sampling window on the reconstructed image in
this research.
3. Particle depth measurement
3.1. Procedure
If some small particles are illuminated by an expanded
laser beam from left to right, as shown in Fig. 2, we can
have a hologram on which the axisymmetric interference
fringes for all the particles are recorded overlapping each
other. For the fringes of each particle, the particle image
can be computed at the true depth to obtain the clearest
image that is the shade of the particle. Our purpose is to


S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574

Fig. 3. Reconstructed light intensity distribution along the z-axis.

detect the true depth where the light intensity at the center of the particle image is a minimum. In order to reduce the computing time required for the detection of the
position where a focused particle image is clearly reconstructed, the light intensity Iz is computed only along the
z-axis from the center of axisymmetric fringes for each particle z = zmin to the maximum limit of depth measurement
zmax . Then the z coordinate is taken as the detected depth
d0 if the intensity Iz is a minimum over the range from zmin
to zmax .

Fig. 4. An example of hologram pattern numerically obtained for 50 small


3.2. Numerical results

In this section, test results obtained in numerical simulations will be demonstrated to examine the reliability of the
present method. The wavelength of the illuminating light
used in the numerical simulations is 632.8 nm, that of a
HeNe laser.
Fig. 3 shows the reconstructed light intensity distributions
along the z-axis for the case with the domain of integration
rmax = 10 mm, the z-range from zmin = 200 mm to zmax =
800 mm. Also three numerical results for the true particle
depths d = 300, 500 and 700 mm are compared with each
other in this gure. These results are separately computed
from the hologram pattern for a single particle based on
the governing equation (2.9) with a trapezoidal formulation,
because the hologram pattern is axisymmetric. The sizes of
spatial discretization along the directions r and z are r =
0:01 mm and z = 1 mm, respectively. As explained in the
previous section, the reconstructed light intensity Iz steeply
drops down around the z-coordinate corresponding to each
true depth, and it is easily seen that we have only to search
the position where the light intensity is minimum along the
Fig. 4 depicts an example of in-line hologram patterns numerically obtained using Eqs. (2.5) and (2.6) for
50 tracer particles. The 3D positions of the particles are
determined with random numbers for the depth range

Fig. 5. Actual depth vs. detected depth.

100 mm d 1000 mm. Since the interference fringes for

all the particles overlap each other, it is dicult to detect
the depth of each particle with higher accuracy using Eq.
(2.9). Fig. 5 shows the correlation between target depth and
detected depth for ve holograms with 50 small particles
such as shown in Fig. 4. This correlation has been obtained
using Eq. (2.4) and the domain of integration is con ned
to the second dark fringe to reduce the computational load.
From Fig. 5, the correlation is found to be nearly linear and
its averaged slope d0 =d is about 0.96. This means that the
present results have about 5% error, though the error can be
reduced to about 1% if the domain of integration is assigned
to 10 or 20 mm. There is a trade-o between computational
time and measurement accuracy in the present method.

S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574


Table 1
E ect of correction factor on RMS error
Without correction

With correction

37 mm

16 mm

Fig. 7. Radial intensity distributions for six di erent particle sizes.

Fig. 6. Procedure of simultaneous measurement of particle size and depth.

Table 2
Comparison of RMS error in particle size measurement
Radius A (mm)

However, it is very important that the error ratio is constant

over the wide range of particle depth, and any detected
= 1:04. The
depth can be corrected with a single factor 0:96
root mean square errors are summarized in Table 1. It is
seen from the table that the RMS error is improved using the correction factor that is applicable to experimental
4. Particle size measurement
4.1. Procedure
In the previous section, we have shown the numerical
procedure for detecting the depth of small particles from observed in-line hologram patterns. Next, we will present the
procedure for simultaneously measuring the particle size and
depth from in-line hologram patterns (Fig. 6). This method
consists of two stages of particle depth measurement and
particle size measurement and the rst stage follows the
same procedure as described in Section 3.1. The second
stage is performed by computing the two-dimensional reconstructed image only at the position that has been detected
as the particle depth at the rst stage. As described before,
the reconstructed image is the shade of the small particle, so
we have only to measure the diameter of the locally darker
part on the image.
4.2. Numerical results
We have examined the performance of the method for
simultaneously measuring the particle size and depth in





0:0 m
5:8 m
1:1 m

0:0 m
0:0 m
0:0 m

0:0 m
0:0 m
2:6 m

numerical simulations. It is assumed that only a single particle is recorded on the hologram pattern for simplicity,
so Eq. (2.9) is employed for reconstructing the 2D image.
Fig. 7 shows the radial distributions of light intensity reconstructed at the given true depth 500 mm. The radius of
the particle, A, is given values of 0.08, 0.12, 0.16, 0.20,
0.24 and 0:28 mm. Since the particle image is its shade, the
light intensity around the center of the image (radial distance 0.00) is much lower than the light intensity on the
background, and it suddenly increases around the radial distance corresponding to the given true radius of the particle.
The light intensity distribution for A = 0:28 mm is somewhat di erent from that for the other sizes, but the particle radius may be accurately detected with an appropriate
threshold for light intensity. Table 2 compares the RMS
error of the detected particle radius between three di erent thresholds, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5. It can be seen that the
particle size can be measured with the lowest RMS error
using the threshold 0.4. Fig. 8 displays the correlation between true diameter and detected diameter with the threshold 0.4 for the case with the true particle depth d = 600 mm.
We can see that the particle size can be measured with
high accuracy because the present results are in good agreement with the line of unitary slope indicating an error-free


S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574

Fig. 8. Actual diameter vs. detected diameter.

Fig. 10. True depths given in numerical simulation.

Fig. 9. Full-volume digital holography.

5. Further development
5.1. Full volume reconstruction
The remarkable recent developments in computer and
image processing enable us to realize the computational
processing and analysis that were considered to be impossible only ve years ago. The methods explained in Sections
3 and 4 have been developed to reduce computing time.
However, reconstruction in 3D full volume, which is called
full-volume reconstruction in this paper, is expected
to provide higher measurement accuracy. This section
deals with the full-volume reconstruction to examine this
Fig. 9 illustrates the light intensity distribution reconstructed in the 3D volume. There are locally some spatial
regions with lower light intensity corresponding to the 3D
positions of the small particles. For measuring particle depth,
we have only to detect the 3D positions where the light intensity is locally a minimum as shown in Fig. 9. This approach
is very simple in procedure, but there is a high overhead in
computing time required to obtain the light intensity in a
3D full volume. The most reasonable way is to numerically
solve Eq. (2.4) using a conventional FFT algorithm. However, the scale of reconstructed image changes according to

the coordinate z, so Eq. (2.10) should be employed even if

the computational e ort is twice that of the above FFT processing. In this study, it is con rmed that the FFT algorithm,
programmed in FORTRAN, can be carried out only once in
about 5 s on a standard CPU (AMD K6-II 450 MHz) for the
size of image 512 512 pixels.
There are a number of variations in detecting the center of
local 3D space with lower light intensity. In this study, we
prepared the following template of a black circle with radius
R to search the 3D position of a particle using a normalized
cross-correlation coecient, at the position where the pattern
on a reconstructed 2D image is very similar to the template
which, as shown in Fig. 9, is given by
T (x0 ; y0 ) =

for R


x02 + y02 ;


5.2. Numerical results

Figs. 10 and 11(a), respectively, depict the layout of 10
small particles distributed in 3D space projected onto the
h plane, and its hologram pattern numerically obtained.
The diameter of small particles is 0:32 mm, and their depths
are given by random numbers within the range from 200 to
300 mm, as indicated in Fig. 10. We carried out the FFT image reconstruction at all the positions from 200 to 300 mm
with an interval z = 1 mm. From Fig. 11(a), it can be
seen that there is little di erence between the interference
fringes for any particle. However, we can clearly recognize
the di erence between Figs. 11(b) and (c) which are the reconstructed images at the coordinates z = 219 and 279 mm,
respectively. In Fig. 11(b), the shades of the particles at
d = 217, 219 and 222 mm are focused, and on the other

S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574


Fig. 11. Full volume processing: (a) hologram pattern, (b) reconstructed image at z = 219 mm and (c) reconstructed image at z = 279 mm.

Table 3
RMS errors in full volume digital holography



0:0 m

3:2 m

0:55 mm

Fig. 12. Experimental setup.

hand, the particle image for d = 279 mm is reconstructed

with higher contrast in Fig. 11(c). Table 3 summarizes
the RMS error of detected x, y and z coordinates for 10

directly on the CCD element without a camera lens. The diameter of the expanded laser beam is about 35 mm and the
size of the CCD element is 13 inch with 659(H )494(V ) resolution (cell size 7:4 7:4 m=pixel). The tracer particle is
colored white and its mean radius is 0:16 mm. The observed
images are captured into the personal computer (DEC VENTURIS 5100) with the image capture board (CYBERTEK,
CT3001RGB). The resulting digital image is composed of
640 480 pixel with 8 bit gray-level resolution for a green
Figs. 13(a) and (b) demonstrate a pair of observed hologram patterns for d = 700 mm and its reconstructed particle
image at the detected depth z = d0 = 698 mm. The hologram
pattern is normalized with the background image to eliminate the e ect of tiny dust on the glass plate or the surface
of CCD element on the observed fringes. It is found from
Fig. 13(b) that the particle image can be successfully reconstructed based on Eq. (2.10). The absolute error of detected
particle depth was 1 mm.

5.3. Experimental results

6. Conclusion

This section shows an experimental result to con rm the

reliability of the numerical simulations in this paper. The
experimental setup used for the observation of in-line hologram patterns is shown in Fig. 12. All optical equipment
and optics are set up in line on an optical rail to easily measure the position of each apparatus in depth. The small particles attached to the glass plate are illuminated by HeNe
laser light (wavelength =632:8 nm, output =2 mW) through
a spatial lter and a laser collimating lens. The di racted
light and plane light are recorded by the B=W CCD camera (SONY XC-55), and interference fringes are observed

In this paper, the potential of digital holography in particle

measurement has been examined by numerical simulations
and experiment. Although the measurement accuracy and
computational performance in particle size and depth measurements is not good enough to apply the present method
to industrial measurements, it is expected that digital holography will be very useful in various elds of engineering,
because the spatial resolution of CCD cameras is now being
improved and computational performance of personal computers is greatly increasing. In the near future we anticipate
an experimental environment with a video camera of spatial


S. Murata, N. Yasuda / Optics & Laser Technology 32 (2000) 567574

Fig. 13. Experimental results: (a) normalized hologram pattern and (b) a reconstructed particle image.

resolution 4000 4000 pixels in a standard laboratory. We

consider that it is very important to develop new approaches
to fast, accurate and convenient measurement and to examine their performance, in advancing of the development of
the hardware.
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by a CCD target and numerical reconstruction. Appl Opt 1994;33(2):

[2] Kreis TM, Juptner WPO. Principles of digital holography. Fringe 97.
Berlin: Akademie Verlag GmbH 1997. p. 353 63.
[3] Adams M, Kreis TM, Juptner WPO. Particle size and position
measurement with digital holography. Proc of SPIE 1997;3098:
[4] Murata S, Masuda M. Detection of the depth of tracer particles
using numerical reconstruction from in-line hologram patterns.
Proceedings of Fifth Triennial International Symposium on Fluid
Control, Measurement and Visualization, 1997. p. 9238.
[5] Murata S, Masuda M. Detection of the depth of tracer particles using
numerical reconstruction from in-line hologram patterns. Proceedings
of Eighth International Symposium on Flow Visualization, Vol. 177,
1998. p. 177.1177.6.