This paper proposes a new phase unwrapping (PU) algorithm based on an unscented information filter for interferometric fringes. The proposed algorithm is the result of combining an unscented information filter with a Levenberg–Marquardt method, a robust phase gradient estimator called the amended matrix pencil model, and an efficient quality-guided strategy based on heapsort. The unscented information filter, a new type of filter that has recently been well applied to traditional nonlinear object tracking fields, is introduced to estimate the unambiguous unwrapped phase of wrapped phase images for the first time, to the best of our knowledge. First, a recursive PU procedure based on an unscented information filter is established to perform PU and noise filtering at the same time by combining the unscented information filter and the amended matrix pencil model, where the amended matrix pencil model is applied to acquire phase gradient information needed for the recursive PU procedure. Second, the above recursive PU procedure is further optimized to improve the accuracy of the phase estimate by inserting the Levenberg–Marquardt method. This is also the first time that the Levenberg–Marquardt method is combined with the unscented information filter for the unwrapping of interferometric fringes, to the best of our knowledge. Finally, the efficient quality-guided strategy based on heapsort is used to efficiently route the path of the unwrapping procedure and to guide the proposed method to efficiently unwrap wrapped pixels along the path from the high-reliance region to the low-reliance region of the wrapped fringes. Results obtained with synthetic data and real data show more acceptable solutions with the proposed method, compared to some of the most used algorithms.
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