We propose a new method for the accurate estimation of nonlinear response of the PZT to the applied voltage. The method uses discrete chirp Fourier transform for the coarse estimation followed by a fine search method for the accurate estimation of the phase step and nonlinearity. The method can be extended to the cases of extraction of multiple phases in the configurations involving multiple PZTs such as holographic moire in the presence of nonlinearity. The robustness of the proposed method is verified by comparing with Cramer-Rao lower bound. Experimental results prove the method's feasibility. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.