, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 353-358

Three-dimensional particle imaging with a single camera

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A new approach to the instantaneous three-dimensional mapping of flow fields is introduced. A single camera system uses defocusing in conjunction with a mask (three pin holes) embedded in the camera lens to decode three-dimensional point sources of light (i.e., illuminated particles) on a single image. The sizes and locations of the particle image patterns on the image plane relate directly to the three-dimensional positions of the individual particles. Using sequential images, particles may be tracked in space and time, yielding whole-field velocity information. Calibration of the system is straightforward, whereas the self-similarity of the particle image patterns can be used in automating the data-extraction process. The described technique was used to obtain particle trajectories in the flow field of a vortex ring impinging on a wall.