Orthogonal basis for the optical transfer function.
There are several problems in optics that involve the reconstruction of surfaces such as wavefronts, reflectors, and lenses. The reconstruction problem often leads to a system of first-order differential equations for the unknown surface. We compare several numerical methods for integrating differential equations of this kind. One class of methods involves a direct integration. It is shown that such a technique often fails in practice. We thus consider one method that provides an approximate direct integration; we show that it is always converging and that it provides a stable, accurate solution even in the presence of measurement noise. In addition, we consider a number of methods that are based on converting the original equation into a minimization problem.