Lately, I have been able to externally trigger the camera using a signal generator passing through the op-amp circuit that I built. The op-amp circuit stabilizes the jitter in the sine wave from the signal generator and rectifies the wave. I wrote the calculations into the code allowing me to find the phase and amplitude from the images I take. I still need to develop code that will plot these arrays of phase and amplitude.
The mysterious dark band at the top of the ccd images continues to defy explanation. However, I have found that it only appears for short exposure times even when the lens is completly covered. During the next couple of days, I will try to write a routine to correct for this structure in the dark field.
Koji recommended that we use the optical setup pictured below. This configuration would require fewer optics and we would have to rely on slight misalignments between the carrier and reference beams to test the effectiveness of the phase camera instead of a wavefront-deforming lens.