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A Flexible Fibrescope, using Static Scanning


AN optical unit has been devised which will convey optical images along a flexible axis. The unit comprises a bundle of fibres of glass, or other transparent material, and it therefore appears appropriate to introduce the term ‘fibrescope’ to denote it. An obvious use of the unit is to replace the train of lenses employed in conventional endoscopes. The existing instruments of this kind, for example, cystoscopes, gastroscopes and bronchoscopes, etc., consist of a train of copying lenses and intermediate field lenses. They are either rigid or have only limited flexibility. Moreover, the image quality of these systems is poor, since they consist only of positive lenses which give rise to a very large curvature of field. In existing gastroscopes the total number of lenses employed may be as many as fifty, and in consequence the light transmission is poor, due to the total glass path and the number of air–glass surfaces, in spite of blooming. Even more important in this respect, however, is the need to use small relative apertures for such instruments, this being necessary if acceptable definition is to be obtained with such large field curvature.

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HOPKINS, H., KAPANY, N. A Flexible Fibrescope, using Static Scanning. Nature 173, 39–41 (1954).

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