Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Berg, Matthew J.

Committee Member

Pierce, Donna M.

Committee Member

Wang, Chuji

Committee Member

Koshka, Yaroslav

Committee Member

Arnoldus, Hendrik F.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Applied Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Applied Physics Program


In this work, digital holography (DH) is extensively utilized to characterize microparticles. Here, “characterization” refers to the determination of a particle’s shape, size, and, in some cases, its surface structure. A variety of microparticles, such as environmental dust, pollen, volcanic ash, clay, and biological samples, are thoroughly analyzed. In this technique, the microscopically fine interference pattern generated by the coherent superposition of an object and a reference wave fields is digitally recorded using an optoelectronic sensor, in the form of a hologram, and the desired particle property is then computationally extracted by performing a numerical reconstruction to form an image of the particle. The objective of this work is to explore, develop, and demonstrate the feasibility of different experimental arrangements to reconstruct the image of various arbitrary-shaped particles. Both forward- and backward-scattering experimental arrangements are constructed and calibrated to quantify the size of several micron-sized particles. The performance and implications of the technique are validated using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-traceable borosilicate glass microspheres of various diameters and a Thorlabs resolution plate. After successful validation and calibration of the system, the resolution limit of the experimental setup is estimated, which is ~10 microns. Particles smaller than 10 microns in size could not be imaged well enough to ensure that what appeared like a single particle was not in fact a cluster. The forward- and backward-scattering holograms of different samples are recorded simultaneously and images of the particles are then computationally reconstructed from these recorded holograms. Our results show that the forward- and backward-scattering images yield different information on the particle surface structure and edge roughness, and thus, reveal more information about a particle profile. This suggests that the two image perspectives reveal aspects of the particle structure not available from a more commonly used forward-scattering based image alone. The results of this work could be supportive to insight more on the particles’ morphology and subsequently important for the advancement of contactree particle characterization technique.