Phase Unwrapping Algorithm

Case ID:

This technology is a novel method of phase unwrapping that improves the accuracy of existing fast unwrapping techniques through revising transform coordinates.

Phase maps have a variety of uses, from medical diagnosis including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to interferometric surface characterization in manufacturing and synthetic aperture radar interferometry used for geological measurement and object characterization in aerospace applications. Phase unwrapping algorithms serve the important role of supplementing whole number wavelengths to the interferometric sub-wavelength phase measurement for a complete characterization of the surface being measured.

Generally, these algorithms are computationally intense, and users of interferometric data search for ways to reduce computation complexity without sacrificing accuracy in order to achieve “real time” operation of interferometric scans. Iterations of solutions from Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs) to solve equations of 2D Laplacian operators is a common technique, though not the exclusive approach. Surfaces with steep gradients or discontinuities present the greatest challenge for phase unwrapping, often leading to higher errors at boundaries. This technology presents an algorithm modification with improved boundary accuracy while maintaining computational efficiency.


  • Medical imaging (such as MRI)
  • Interference-based microscopy
  • Topology surveying (such as interferometry synthetic aperture radar)
  • Other image reconstruction applications


  • Fast/efficient
  • More accurate than other fast techniques
  • Broadly applicable

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,869,207

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Pierre Blanche
Pedro Alcaraz
Remington Ketchum