US 3676671 A
This invention relates to novel fluorescent and photoelectric screens which comprise supporting means constructed by a plurality of light conducting novel guides operating by internal reflection of light and mounted in a two-dimensional array. The invention is also directed to the use of such means in photoelectric inspection devices.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Sheldon [4 1 *July 1 1, 1972 [541 DEVICES 0F FIBEROPTIC AND  1161mm Cited V UUM AC TUBE CONSTRUCTION Um STATES PATENTS  Inventor: Edward Emanuel Sheldon, East th 2,354,591 7/ 1944 Goldsmith ..350/96 B New Ymk, 6 2,256,595 9/1941 Metcalf. ..25o/227 Notice: The portion of the term of this patent sub- 2.567,036 Shannon X sequent to O 3 19 4 has been 2,702,864 2/1955 McKee .250/7 1 .5 X claimed 2,720,593 10/ 1955 Richards et al.. 250/71.5 X 3,043,179 7/1962 Dunn 250/227 X Flledl 1968 3,215,846 11/1965 McNaney. 250/227 X I] No: Sheldon l X Rehud Application Primary Examiner-James W. Lawrence Assistant Examiner-Davis L. Willis Division of Ser. No. 498,959, Oct. 20, 1965, Pat. No. Au Polache-k & Saulsbury 3,423,620, which is a division of Ser. No. 158,638, Dec. 4, 1961 Pat. No. 3,279,460, which is a continuation-impart of Ser. No. 624,829, Nov. 28, 1956, Pat. No. 3,021,834.
us. 01. ..250/71 R, 250/227 1111.121..." H011 1/54 Field 61 Search ..25o/71, 71.5, 227; 313/65 s;
[ ABSTRACT This invention relates to novel fluorescent and photoelectric screens which comprise supporting means constructed by a plurality of light conducting novel guides operating by internal reflection of light and mounted in a two-dimensional array. The invention is also directed to the use of such means in photoelectric inspection devices.
19 Claims, 42 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 1 1 m2 SHEET 10F 7 3 WMN w 5 NR Q m n QQIOG \Akkbb QM 3% mm NN hm MM 3 PATENTEDJUL 1 1 I972 SHEET 5 OF 7 Q @Q A mm aw INVENTOR.
DEVICES OF FIBEROPTIC AND VACUUM TUBE CONSTRUCTION This invention relates to novel photoelectric instruments for the transfer of images and represents a division of my co-pending Ser. No. 498,959 filed Oct. 20, 1965 and now US. Pat. No. 3,423,620, which was a division of Ser. No. 158,638 filed Dec. 4, 1961 and now US. Pat. No. 3,279,460. The aforesaid 3,279,460 was a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 624,829 filed Nov. 28, 1956 and now US. Pat. No. 3,021,834 and has a common subject matter with Ser. No. 415,669 filed Mar. 1 l, 1954 and now US. Pat. No. 2,877,368.
The purpose of my invention is to intensify the image of the examined internal parts or passages so that the final image will be presented to the observer with the luminosity facilitating inspection of said image.
Another objective of this invention is to change, decrease or amplify the contrast of the image of the examined part.
Another purpose of my invention is to enable simultaneous observation by many examiners of close or remote locations, which was not possible until now.
Another purpose of my invention is to provide means for simultaneous visual inspection, and photographic recording of the examined area which also has never been possible before. Another purpose of this invention is to provide means for inspection of inaccessible channels, such as hollow parta of machinery or of other inaccessible tortuous passages. My device may be introduced inside of a part which cannot be inspected visually without dismantling or destroying the whole machine and will transmit the image of said part to the observer outside of said part. My invention will be especially useful for the examination of coils and pipes or other curved structures. My device can be also used as a probe to be inserted into a solid object and to transmit information about its internal structure.
The objectives of my inventions were realized by a novel device which is flexible to allow its introduction into the examined part regardless of its curvature or angulations and which after its introduction into the examined part will produce a light image of said part. Video signals are reconverted in receivers outside of the examined part into visible images for inspection or recording. My intrascopic device can produce black and white images, as well as multicolor images, showing faithfully or arbitrarily the colors of the examined part.
In particular this novel device besides other inventive features makes the use of a television pick-up tube consisting of two separate independent elements which can be introduced separately into the examined part and which after introduction work in cooperation as a television camera. As each of these two separate elements is smaller in size than any conventional television camera can be made, this novel television camera can be introduced into locations which, because of small size or tortuous shape of passages leading to them, were inaccessible to the most miniaturized television cameras known in the art.
Another marked improvement in my novel television camera is elimination of magnetic deflecting and focusing coils which are bulky and occupy so much space that even a small television tube using them cannot be introduced into narrow passages. The use of conventional electrostatic deflecting system results in a marked distortion of images especially in pick-up tubes using the slow scanning electron beam. These drawbacks are eliminated in my intrascope and therefore in spite of its very small size it is capable of producing images of a good definition and contrast.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 represents a partially sectioned view of the novel instrument for inspection of inaccessible parts;
FIG. la shows a modification of the intrascope;
FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D show modifications of the image sensitive member;
FIG. lb shows the intrascope in combination with the pushing guide for introduction of component parts of the television camera into the intrascope;
FIG. 2 shows the intrascope provided with a modification of the television camera;
FIGS. 2a, 2b, and 2c represent modifications of the television camera;
FIGS. 2d and 2e represent a cross-sectional perspective view of supporting element for the composite target in the television camera;
FIG. 3 shows a modification of the intrascope having an optical system;
FIGS. 4, 4a and 4b show simplified cameras for the intrascope;
FIG. 5 shows an intrascope without illuminating source;
FIG. 5a is a simplified form of intrascope shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 6 represents an intrascope for producing color images;
FIG. 6a represents color disc;
FIG. 7 represents a modification of the intrascope for color images;
FIG. 7a represents a simplified form of an intrascope for color images;
FIGS. 8a and 8b represent a modification of pick-up tube;
FIG. 9 shows a novel flexible flying spot tube;
FIGS. 9a, 9b and 9c show modifications of the flexible flying spot tube;
FIG. 10 shows a modification of the endoscope having flexible vacuum tube;
FIGS. 11 and 12 show a novel flexible television pick-up tube;
FIGS. 13, 14, 15 show a novel endoscope having image conductor;
FIGS. [50, 15b, 15c and 15d show modifications of the novel endoscope with image conductor;
FIG. 16 shows a novel flexible light source;
FIG. 17 shows a novel vacuum tube having a telescopic electron gun.
This new device which may be called the intrascope or endoscope 1 is shown in FIG. I. The handle 2 is a hollow tube of diameter corresponding to the examined part. The handle may be rigid or semi-flexible or completely flexible according to the part to be examined. At the end of the handle begins the flexible part 2a of the intrascope which also has width and length suitable for the size of the examined part. In case the intrascope is used for examination of fragile parts, the part 20 must be very flexible and pliable in order to avoid damage to the wall of the examined part. This basic feature of the material for the flexible part of the intrascope is therefore that it must be easily bent and molded by the walls of the passages in which it is being introduced. Such material may be rubber 26 or a suitable plastic, of the type used by Dave! Rubber Company of Providence, Rhode Island. In case the intrascope is used for investigation of sturdy parts or of machinery, the part 2a may be more rigid. The flexible part 2a of the intrascope may be in such a case made of the stainless steel spiral sheet designed not only for durability but also to maintain the proper degree of flexibility and elasticity. The metal spiral is tapered to insure its uniform bending. The intrascope may be covered with an outer tubing 26a such as of neoprene. This prevents dust particles and moisture from affecting the optical and pick-up system located inside of the intrascope. At the end of the flexible part there is a semi-flexible tip 3 which may be screwed on the flexible part and can be easily removed giving thereby access to the inner structures of the intrascope. The tip consists of a rubber conical finger and serves to facilitate the gliding of the intrascope within the examined part. In order to facilitate the introduction of the intrascope into parts which have no curves, my device can be made semirigid by inserting into it a semi-rigid stilet. In case the intrascope is used as a probe for insertion into a solid object, the tip 3 should preferably be rigid and sharply pointed to be able to pierce the examined object. In some cases the tip is provided with one or more windows at its end to transmit the light to the examined part and to receive the image of said part. The tip may also have a semi-spherical or other shape.
In some cases the examined part has to be distended by air or fluid insufflation prior to the examination. A special air pump attachment 44 and .a channel 44a in the intrascope is provided for this purpose. The channel 44a may also serve to evacuate contents of the examined part before examination to improve visibility. The knob 45 on the proximal end of the intrascope serves to indicate to the examiner the position of windows l2 and 18 of the intrascope. In examination of living bodies, the layer 26 or 26a should be of a highly dielectric material to prevent any short circuits.
In the distal end of the flexible part of the intrascope there is a housing box 5 containing the illumination system 7. The box 5 may also be attached to the inner walls of the intrascope by means of the brackets or may be held by springs. It is obvious that there are many means for attachment of thebox 5 which are well known in the art. All walls of the housing box 5 except the one facing the television pick-up tube 16 are provided with windows for transmission of the light from the illuminating system 7. These windows are correlated with the windows 12 in the flexible part of the intrascope which transmit the light from the illuminating system to the examined part. -In some cases the windows 12 may be made to extend over the circumference of the intrascope. In some cases the window to trans mit illumination from the light source to the examined part may also be provided in the distal end of the intrascope instead of being in its side walls, and in such case the tip may be made of transparent material or may be omitted. Windows 12 may be provided with shutters which can be controlled from the proximal end of the intrascope which is outside of the examined part.
The illuminating system may consist of the electrical bulb 7. The electrical bulb may be mounted in the housing box 5 by means of a socket 7a. In some cases it is advantageous to use the objective lens 11 between the light bulb and window 12 in order to concentrate the light on one field. The lens may be held in position by brackets 11a. The light bulb is activated by the source of electrical power 9 situated outside of the examined part. Such a source may be the commercial electrical current-or battery'of dry cells. The flexible electrical cable 8 leads from the socket 7a to said outside source of electrical current 9. The cable is a lacquered, double insulated electric wire, is covered in addition with liquid rubber and is vulcanized in order to prevent a short circuit. The housing unit 5 may be in some cases omitted and the light source may be attached to the socket 7a which is held by brackets. In some cases electrical power of very high frequency is preferable.
In the flexible part 2a proximally to the housing box 5, there is a rigid non-transparent housing compartment 14 containing the optical system 15 and the novel television pick-up tubes 16a and 16b. The housing 14 has an opening 17 in which the optical system 15 is lodged and which serves to admit the image of the examined part. This opening is correlated with windows 18 in the flexible part of the intrascope which transmit the image of the examined part. In some cases the win' dows 18 may be made to extend over all the circumference of the intrascope. The windows 18 may be provided with shutters operated from theproximal end of the intrascope which is externally to the examined part. The housing 14 containing the television pick-up tubes 16a and 16b and the optical system may be attached to the inner wall of the flexible part 2a of the intrascope by means of brackets or may be held by springs 27a. As the housing box fits into the encasing holding member 26 and is held by it tightly, in some cases no additional supporting means such as springs are necessary.
The optical system 15 may consist of 90 gable prism 20 and of lens 21. The optical system may have its own housing unit instead of being lodged in the compartment 14 and may then be introduced into the intrascope separately.
In some cases it is desirable to have a large field of vision and at the same time to preserve the necessary demagnification of the examined part. In such case, instead of the prism 20, a rotating mirror should be used. The mirror has first surface coating which eliminates the reflections and is activated by the magnetic solenoid placed beneath the mirror. The solenoid is connected by the elasticcable with the controls outside of the examined part and can tip the mirror from the retrograde position to the forward position, giving thereby an additional field of vision without the necessity of moving the intrascope. The image of the examined part is reflected by the mirror on the objective lens which focuses said image on the photocathode of the novel television pick-up tube 16b described below. In case the demagnification of the examined part is not necessary a large field of viSion can be obtained by using the lens providing field of vision instead of the usual 4550. The image produced by the optical system is inverted but it can be reverted to the original position either by an additional lens or electronoptically in the viewing tube. The rotating mirror may also serve to admit image either through window 18 or 18a without rotating the whole camera 16.
The housing box 14 contains the novel miniature television camera 16 which was designed to reduce to the minimum the size of the television camera. The television pick-up tubes known previously in the art could be miniaturized only to a certain degree, which was not sufficient in certain applications as some of the examined parts are two small to allow the introduction even of the smallest conventional pick-up tube. This is true especially for the type of tubes having external deflecting coils such as of magnetic or electro-magnetic type, and in such situations, my novel camera 16 will be very suitable as it does not require any external deflecting or focusing coils at all. The camera 16 consists of two vacuum tubes 16a and 16b. The tube 16a has an electron gun 28 which produces an electron beam 29. The electron beam 29 is focused by electrostatic field 30. The electron-optical system for focusing the electron beam 29 may be simplified and markedly reduced in length by using the unipotential electrostatic lens instead of the usual two-lens system. The electron beam 29 is deflected by electrostatic plates 30a and 30b in two perpendicular to each other planes. The electrostatic plates are energized by signals from saw-tooth generators 32 which are situated outside of the examined part. The generators 32 are connected with electrostatic plates 30a and 30 b by means of flexible wires. One deflecting field is produced by the horizontal deflection plates 30a and may have line frequency such as 5l5,000 cycles per second. Another deflecting field is provided by the vertical deflection plates 30b and may have field frequency such as 15-60 cycles per second. In this way the electron beam 29 is made to scan the fluorescent screen 31 in a regular television raster. The fluorescent screen 31 may be in some cases provided with electron-transparent metallic conducting backing layer 31a such as of aluminum. The fluorescent screen 31 must be of a phospher of a very short persistence in order to obtain a good resolution of the image. ZnO has decay time of l micro-second and is suitable for this purpose. Still better results may be obtained by means of ZnS phospher and using only ultra-violet component of its fluorescent emission which has decay time of one-tenth microsecond. In some cases, it is preferable to make the fluorescent screen 31 of semi-spherical curved shape as it will improve definition of the flying light spot. The fluorescent layer 31 may also be deposited on a supporting mesh screen instead of being deposited on the wall of the vacuum tube. This will improve definition of the flying light spot.
The vacuum tube 16a operates in combination with the vacuum tube 16b forming together the novel television camera 16. The vacuum tube 16b has a photoemissive electrode 33 which may be deposited or attached to one of the walls of said vacuum tube. In some cases it is preferable to provide a light transparent conducting layer 33, such as of material known in the trade as Nesa, or of compounds of tin or of cadmium, on the side of said photoemissive electrode 33 facing the fluorescent screen 31. Such a layer must be very thin, e.g., of the'order of microns in order not to impair the definition of images produced by the novel pick-up tube. The photoemissive electrode 33 may be of CsOAg or of caesium, sodium, lithium or rubidium on antimony, arsenic or bismuth,
or of a mixture 0F aforesaid elements. At the opposite end of the vacuum tube 16b there is provided a photocathode 34 which consists of a light transparent signal plate 340, a light transparent insulating layer 34b and a photoemissive mosaic 34c. The signal plate 340 may be a thin transparent layer of metal or other conducting material. The insulating layer 34b may be of mica, silica, or other transparent dielectric material and photoemissive mosaic 34c may be of CsOAg or of caesium, rubidium, potassium or lithium on antimony, arsenic or bismuth, or of a mixture of aforesaid elements. In some cases the photoemissive layer 34c may be, instead of a mosaic, also of continuous type. In cases in which electrostatic focusing field 23 is used to focus the scanning electron beam 33a on the mosaic 34c, much better resolution will be obtained by making such mosaic of a curved semispherical shape. In addition, the use of such spherically shaped photocathode will eliminate instability of the image which is very marked when using electrostatic fields for focusing a slow electron beam.
It should be understood that the photocathode or screen 34a may be of photoconductive or photovoltaic type. FIGS. 1A illustrates the photoconductive type of the photocathode 34A which comprises a light-transparent conducting layer 340 and a photoconductive layer 34C. The photoconductive layer 34C may be of various sulphides, selenides, especially those containing zinc, cadmium or lead, of oxides such as PbO, CaO or ZnO, of tellurides, antimonides, especially containing indium or of compounds of titanium, such as barium or lead titanates. In some cases a mixture of two or more of aforesaid elements will produce better results. In some cases various activators like Cu or S are added to the layer 34C to modify its characteristics. It should be understood that the photoconductive layer 34C may be an evaporated layer, sintered layer, a layer embedded in a plastic, a crystalline layer, a mosaic of crystals or a single crystal. In some cases a light-transparent dielectric layer may be provided between the layer 34a and 34C. The photocathode 34A may be of convex shape or of a planar shape. Furthermore, the layer 340 may be mounted on the side of the photoconductive layer 34C which faces the electron beam. In addition the conducting layer 34a should be in some cases connected to a source of an electrical potential to provide a biasing electrical field across the layer 34C. The remaining parts of the tube 168 are the same as of the tube 16b.
The light image of the examined part is projected by the optical system on the photocathode 34 of the vacuum tube 16b. The light image produces emission of photoelectrons frOm the layer 340. As a result, a positive charge image having the pattern of said light image is left on the photoemissive mosaic 34c. Both vacuum tubes 16a and 16b are held in opposition to each other and in such a manner that the fluorescent screen 31 of the vacuum tube 16a is adjacent to the photoemissive electrode 33 of the tube 16b. The scanning electron beam 29 impinging on the fluorescent screen 31 produces a light spot at each point of its impingement. The scanning illumination excites the photoemissive electrode 33 and produces thereby a fine scanning beam of photoelectrons 33a. The photoelectron beam 330 is of the scanning type because it is produced by the scanning electron beam 29. The photoelectron beam 33a may be further focused by electrostatic fields 23. In this construction is is preferable to use focusing fields because the separation of the fluorescent screen 31 from the photoemissive electrode 33 by the thickness of the wall of the vacuum tubes 16 and 16b causes certain unsharpness of the photoelectron beam 33. The electron beam 330 may be of high velocity such as used in the iconoscope type of television pick-up tubes or may be of a slow velocity. In this embodiment of my invention, I use the slow scanning electron beam. It is to be understood, however, that the fast scanning electron beam may be used in my invention as well. The electron beam 330 scanning across the charge image stored in the mosaic 34c converts said image into electrical signals which appear at the signal plate 34a. These electrical signals can be converted into video signals over the resistance in the manner well known in the art. The video signals are transmitted by the flexible coaxial cable 43 from the intrascope within the examined part to the video amplifiers 43a outside of said part. The amplified signals are transmitted from the amplifiers to the viewing tube of kinescope type 37 and are reconstructed therein into the visible image representing the image of the examined part. The viewing tube may be of kinescope type and does not have to be described in detail as it is well known in the art. The examined part will appear on the fluorescent screen 370 of the viewing tube where it can be inspected by many examiners. Transmission of the image from the amplifier 43a to the viewingtube can be done by coaxial cable 43 or by high frequency waves. The image can be sent, therefore, not only to the immediate but also to the remote receivers or may be transmitted to multiple independent viewing tubes for the benefit of many examiners, which was one of the objectives of this invention. The image on the viewing tube 37 may also be photographed simultaneously with the intrascopic examination in order to make a permanent record, which was another purpose of this invention. It should be understood that the electrical signals from the pick-up tube may be fed into various utilization circuits instead of into image reproducing receivers The contrast of the reproduced image may be changed, diminished or increased according to the needs of particular examination by using amplifiers provided with variable mu tubes, or by the use of kinescope in which gamma can be controlled. The signal to noise ratio of this system and therefore the definition of the reproduced image may be improved by using in amplifiers discrimination circuits which reject signals below the predetermined amplitude and eliminate therefore most of the noise signals. The coaxial cable 43 within the examined part may be encased in the above-described means 26 or 26a for inserting intrascope or may be attached to them.
The voltages for the operation of the tubes 16a and 161; are supplied through the flexible electrical wires 8a from the source of the electrical power 9 outside of the examination. In this same way the horizontal and vertical synchronizing circuits, focusing fields and deflecting circuits are supplied with electrical energy from the outside source of power 9. The synchronizing circuits are not described in detail as they are well known in the art and it is believed they would only complicate the drawings. In some cases the coaxial cable maybe outside of said inserting means 26 or 26a.
Another modification of the tube 16b is shown in FIG. 1B. The tube 168 has a composite photocathode 348. FIG. 1B shows a vacuum tube provided with one composite image-sensitive screen. The photocathode or screen 348 has a photoemissive layer 123, a dielectric layer 124, a photoconductive layer and a transparent conducting layer 126. The image of the examined part is formed in the mosaic layer 123. The image sensitive screen 122 is illuminated by the fluing spot from the tube 16a through the light transparent layer 126. The scanning illumination changes the conductivity of the layer 125 and converts thereby the electrical pattern stored in layer 123 into successive electrical signals corresponding to the image of the examined part. The electrical signals are con ducted to the receivers outside of the examined part where they are reconverted into visible images in the manner well known in the television art. It should be understood that electrical signals may also be fed into different utilization circuits, such as using an absorption negative, which are well known in nondestructive testing in industry.
Another modification of the tube 16b in which a photoconductive photocathode is used instead of a photoemissive photocathode 34, is shown in FIG. 1C. The tube 16C comprises only photocathode 34A which may be of convex or planar shape. The materials for the photocathode 34A were described above. In some cases the photocathode 34A may have two different photoconductive layers, such as layer 125 and 125a adjacent to each other. The layers 125 and 1250 are preferably separated by a light impervious layer.
in some cases the composite photocathode or screen described in FIG. 1C may have a construction in which both photoemissive and photoconductive layers are used. Such a photocathode will have a mosaic photoemissive layer on the side exposed to the image forming radiation, a photoconductive layer, and a light transparent conducting layer on the side facing thesource of scanning illumination. The image of the examined part is received by the mosaic layer and is converted into a charge image. The scanning illumination converts said stored charge image into successive electrical signals which are taken off the conducting layer.
Another embodiment of the image sensitive pick-up element is shown in FIG. 1D. In this embodiment the image sensitive element is not a vacuum tube but a solid screen 127 which comprises two photoconductive layers 125 and 1250 and light transparent conducting layers 128 and 129, such as of cadmium, oxide, tin oxide, tin chloride or of noble metals, adjacent to the photoconductive layers on either side of the screen. The image of the examined part is projected on one side of said screen 127 and is converted into an electrical pattern of electrical conductivity changes in the layer 125. The flying light spot conducted by the light image conductor 1 14 is projected on the opposite side of screen 127, produces an increase of electrical conductivity of the layer 125a, and converts thereby the electrical pattern in layer 125 into successive electrical signals. The electrical signals are conducted to the receivers outside of the examined part and may be reproduced as visible images in the manner well known in the television art. In addition, the electrical signals may be fed into various utilization circuits and may actuate various devices as it is known in the industrial sorting or testing of materials. In some cases it is preferable to place a light opaque layer 125b between the photoconductive layers 125 and 125a. Furthermore it is advisable to connect the layers 125 and 125a to the terminals of a source of an electrical potential to provide a biasing field across said layers. Suitable photoconductive materials for layer 125 or 125a are selanides or sulphides of lead, cadmium or tellurium; oxides such as lead oxide or zinc oxide, antimonides, especially indium antimonide, and titanium compounds such as barium or lead titanates. It should be understood that all these materials may be used as evaporated layers, sintered layers, mosaic layers, layers embedded in plastic, single crystals or a mosaic of crystals. The layers 128 and 125 may be continuous or in the form of a mesh screen or a grid.
It should be understood that the relative position of the flying spot kinescope such as 16a and of the image sensitive member, such as 16b, 16b, or 127 or any modifications thereof, may be reversed. This means that in some cases the flying spot kinescope instead of being situated proximally in relation to the image sensitive member is now situated distally in relation to the image sensitive member.
The housing 14 containing the television camera can be rotated in its position in the intrascope so that the optical system 15 can be made to face the window 18 or 180 and to see" thereby various areas of the circumference of the examined part. The rotation of the camera can be accomplished by means of a pusher 150 which fits into extensions b of the box 14. The rotation of the camera may be preferable in some cases to the rotation of the whole intrascope which allows the accomplishment of the same purpose.
The main rigid portion of the flexible intrascope is the television camera 16. Therefore the shorter the television camera is, the easier it will be for the intrascope to pass through sharply angulated or curved passages. One of the advantages of the novel pick-up tube 16 is that it makes it possible to break up the smallest pick-up tube into two component parts such as tubes 16a and 16b and introduce each of said tubes into the examined part separately, reducing thereby considerably the rigid portion of the intrascope which is due to the television camera, as shown in FIG. la.
To accomplish these objectives, the flexible intrascope la is introduced first into the examined part while containing only the box 5 housing the light source 7. Inside of the intrascope la, proximally to the box 5, there is a ring-like partition which serves as a stop 27 for the pick-up tube 16b which is to be introduced later. It is obvious that the shape of this stop may vary. The rest of the intrascope la is empty. The intrascope la is introduced first into the examined part. As the only rigid part in the intrascope is now the box 5, which is very small, this intrascope can easily pass even through very narrow and curved passages. After the intrascope la has been introduced into the examined part for a desired distance, which can be read easily on the markings provided on the outside wall of the intrascope, the next step begins. Now the housing box 14b, in which the vacuum pick-up tube 16b is mounted, is introduced into the intrascope. The housing box 14b is pushed into the intrascope until it reaches the stop 27, which can be also ascertained by the X-ray control. The box 14b may be held against the stop 27 by spring extensions 27a on said stop 27. The housing box 14b may be pushed into its position by a flexible elastic guide 15a, which is fitted into the proximal end of the housing box 14a. For this purpose the housing box 14b is provided with a ring like extension 10a at its base as shown in FIG. la, which has spring-like properties. The head of the flexible pusher 15a fits into this extension and is kept in position by it. The flexible pusher 15a may also be provided with electrical coils 6a at its distal end, which is adjacent to the element to be introduced into the intrascope. The coils 6a are con nected to the source of electrical power situated outside of the examined part. In this way the head of the pusher may be given electromagnetic properties by closing the circuit, energizing the said coils 6a. The pusher 15a will be held,,therefore, in the elements to be introduced into the intrascope, such as boxes 14a, 14b or the optical system 15, not only by the mechanical pressure of the extensions 10a or 10b but by magnetic attraction as well. When the pusher 15a is to be withdrawn, the current supplying the coils 6a is shut off. To facilitate the guiding of the box 1412 into the intrascope, a set of threads 86 may be used, which are at the end attached to the stop 27 and which are threaded through the perforations in the extensions 87 of the house box 14b. After the box 14b has been introduced into its proper position, the intrascope,
the pusher 15a, is removed. Another set of threads 89 is attached to the extensions 88 in the housing unit 14b and serves to pull out said box 14b to the exterior of the examined part when the examination is finished. This arrangement is shown in FIG. lb.
The housing box may be omitted in some cases and the tube 16b may be introduced into the intrascope without any housing and will be held in position by the same means as described above for holding the box 14b.
After the box 14b with the tube 16b has been introduced, the box housing the tube 16a is introduced now into the intrascope in a similar manner as was described above. Both boxes 14b and 14a have openings at their proximal and distal ends respectively, which makes it possible to bring the fluorescent screen 31 of the tube 16a in close apposition to the photoemissive electrode 33 in the tube 16b. The boxes 14a and 14b are provided with mechanical means for securing a good contact of the proximal end of the tube 16b with the distal end of the tube 16a. One way of providing such a contact is to make the compartment 14a fit inside of the springlike flange 27a at the proximal end of the compartment 14b. The housing box 14a contains vacuum tube 16a which has been described above. The housing box 14a is provided with springlike extensions 10b which serve to accommodate the head of the pushing guide 15a.
The housing box 14a is pushed into the intrascope until it reaches the position of the stop 27b. This can also be checked by the X-ray control. The stop 27b is so situated that when the housing box 14a reaches it, the tubes 16a and 16b will be in apposition to each other. In some cases flexible coils, which can be converted into magnets by passing through them an alternating current from an outside source of electrical power, may be provided on the stops 27 and 27b or at extensions 10a or 10b of the intrascope to help the positioning of boxes 14a and 14b. In this way the rigid portion of the intrascope, which has to pass through a narrow passage or acute curvature, is
now only a fraction of the rigid part of intrascopes, which use even the smallest pick-up tube of conventional type. This represents an important improvement as it makes it possible to introduce the intrascope into parts which were not accessible previously to examination. In case the size of the pick-up tube is not of critical importance, one of standard television tubes, after being miniaturized, may be used as well.
The size of the kinescope tube 16a may be reduced considerably if it can be operated at a low voltage and produce at said low voltage sufficient illumination of the electrode 33. One way of accomplishing this purpose is disclosed in my US. Pat. No. 2,586,391 which discloses amplifying screen consisting of a light reflecting layer, a fluorescent layer, a light transparent separating layer and a photoemissive layer. Said screen is disposed in the kinescope between the electron gun and the fluorescent image reproducing screen. The same objective may also be obtained by using between the electron gun and the image reproducing screen a secondary electron emissive electrode, which may be of a solid type or preferably of mesh screen, is of material having a high secondary electron emission ratio, such as Ag:Mg or it may have deposited on a mesh screen a layer of a highly electron emissive material, such as of C50 or of CaSb. As six to 10 electrons may be emitted by said screen for each incident electron, the voltage of the kinescope may be considerably reduced. The electron-optical field between said secondary electron-emissive electrode and the fluorescent screen 31 will focus the divergent secondary electrons into fine beams so that the definition of the image will not be markedly impaired.
There are certain drawbacks in the intrascope l or Ia described above. The separation of the fluorescent screen 31 from the photoemissive electrode 33 by the thickness of the wall of the vacuum tube 16a and of the tube 16b causes some unsharpness of the photoelectron beam 33a. This unsharpness is due to diffusion of light spot from fluorescent screen 31 as it travels through distance equal to the thickness of the walls of the tubes 16a and 16b. By the time the light spot reaches the photoemissive electrode 33, it has spread so that it cannot produce any more a fine photoelectron beam. Besides the fluorescent light spot suffers in the glass walls of the tubes 16a and 16b multiple internal reflections so that part of the fluorescent light will be scattered and will strike different separated areas of the electrode 33 reducing thereby further definition and contrast. Furthermore, it is not always possible to introduce component parts of intrascope separately as was described before. In some examinations, the time available is very limited so that intrascope must be ready for the use as soon as possible. In such cases, another modification of my invention is more suitable. This embodiment lb of the intrascope is shown in FIG. 2. In this embodiment of invention, the tubes 16a and 16b are replaced by one vacuum tube 16c having a composite target 19 described below. The fluorescent layer 31b of phosphors described above is deposited on one side of a very thin light transparent separating partition 190, whereas the photoemissive layer 33b of one of the materials described above is deposited on the opposite side of said partition. The partition 190 may be of mica, glass, or of a suitable plastic and should preferably be very thin, such as of the order of a fraction of millimeter in order not to impair definition of images produced by the said television pickup tube. Better results may be obtained if the partition 19a is conductive. This may be accomplished by using for the partition a conductive material or by coating the partition on the side, which supports the photoemissive layer, with a light transparent conducting layer, such as is known in the trade under the name of Nesa, indium compounds or of cadmium compounds. In some cases the composite target 19 may be deposited on the photocathode 34 instead of being supported by the side walls of said pick-up tube. In this event the separating layer 19a may preferably be reduced to the thickness of a fraction of one micron.
The partition 19a may be placed in its position within the tube 16c by means of a metallic ring 98 having a flange 99 which supports the partition, whereas the ring itself is attached to the walls of the tube. The cross-sectional perspective view of the ring 98 and partition 19a is shown in FIGS. 2d and 2e. Instead of a metallic ring 98, the transparent separating layer 190, the fluorescent layer 31 and photoemissive layer 33b may also be supported by the mesh screen of conducting or insulating material 82 as shown in the pick-up tube 16d and Me and 16e illustrated in FIGS. 2a, 2b and 20. Instead of a mesh screen a supporting layer of continuous type may be used and may be made of one of the materials used for. the separating layer 19a which are either light transparent or electron transparent. In some cases it is preferable to make the fluorescent layer 31b and the photoemissive layer 33b of semi-spherical curved shape. In some cases the separating partition 190 may be omitted and the fluorescent layer 31b and photoemissive electrode 33b are both supported by the mesh screen 82 or by supporting element of continuous type 19a without any separating layer. This arrangement is possible only in cases in which the photoemissive layer 33b and fluorescent layer 31b do not inactivate each other and the photoemissive layer 33b is conductive. The other elements of the novel pick-up tubes 16c, 16d and l6e are the same as described above. At one end of the tube there is disposed an electron gun 28 which produces an electron beam 29. The electron beam 29 is focused by electrostatic field 30 and is deflected by electrostatic plates 30a and 30b in two perpendicular to each other planes. The electrostatic plates are energized by signals from saw-tooth generators 32 which are situated outside of the examined part. The generators 32 are connected with electrostatic plates 30a and 30b by means of flexible wires. In this way the electron beam 29 is made to scan the fluorescent layer 310 of the composite target 19 in a regular television raster. The fluorescent layer 31b may also be provided with an electron transparent metallic conducting backing layer 31a such as of aluminum. The fluorescent scanning light spot produces a scanning photoelectron beam from the photoemissive electrode 33b which may be of CsOAg or of caesium, lithium or rubidium on antimony, arsenic or bismuth. At the opposite end of the vacuum tube 160 there is provided photocathode 34 which consists of a light transparent signal plate 340, a light transparent insulating layer 34b and of a photoemissive mosaic 340. The signal plate 340 may be a thin transparent layer of metal or other conducting material. The insulating layer 34b may be of mica or other transparent dielectric material and photoemissive mosaic 340 may be of CsOAg or of caesium, rubidium or lithium on antimony, arsenic or bismuth, as was described above.
In some cases it is preferable to focus the scanning electron beam 33a on the photocathode 34. The focusing has to be done by means of electrostatic field 30a. In such event the photocathode 34 or its photoemissive mosaic 340 should be preferably of curved semi-spherical shape. The rest of the operation of the intrascope lb using the television camera 16c is the same as was described above. A considerable improvement in definition of reproduced images may be achieved by making the fluorescent screen 31 of grainless phosphors.
The housing box may be omitted in some cases and the television tube may be introduced into the intrascope without any housing and will be held then in position by the same means as were described above for holding the housing box.
In some cases the part to be examined is too small or too curved to accommodate even the television camera 16. For example the introduction of the intrascope Ia through narrow passages may be in some cases accomplished because of separate two-step insertion of the tubes 16a and 16b, but their subsequent assembling together in side of the intrascope proves to be impossible because of the lack of sufficient space. In such cases, it may be necessary to keep the tubes 16a and 16b apart from each other and to use an optical system 15c to focus the scanning illumination produced by the tube 16a on the photoemissive electrode 33 in the tube 1612, as shown in intrascope 1c, illustrated in FIG. 3.
In some cases the optical system 150 may be housed in the compartment 14b. In other cases it may be placed preferably in compartment 14a. It must be added that the use of the optical system 150 makes it necessary to increase the output of light from the fluorescent screen 31, as only 2 percent of the light will now reach the photoemissive electrode 33. The rest of the operation of the intrascope 1c is the same as was described above for the intrascope 1 or la.
This arrangement will be useful in locations which are known in advance as not to cause any bending of the intrascope in the area between said tubes 16a and 16b. It may be also of value in the examination of parts where the degree of such angulation between the tubes 16a and 16b is known in advance so that it may be overcome by the choice of a suitable optical system.
In order to reduce pin-cushion distortion inherent in electrostatic deflection system used in cameras described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3, I make the fluorescent screen of a semi-spherical shape. Furthermore, the photoemissive electrode 33 may be preferably also shaped semi-spherically to reduce further pincushion effects. In addition the photocathode 34 of the pick-up tube may also preferably have a curved semi-spherical shape which will help overcome further distortion due to electrostatic focusing field 30a. The use in combination of a curved fluorescent screen 31 and of a curved photocathode 34 represents an important improvement of my camera over devices of the prior art. The definition of the flying light spot may be considerably improved by depositing screen 31 on a supporting mesh screen 83 which was described above, instead of on the wall of the tube 16.
In case extremely bright images have to be investigated the photocathode 34 of the pick-up tubes described above may be provided with a layer of phosphor on the side facing said image, which converts the radiation of strong intensity into a fluorescence or phosphorescence of weak intensity, so that the pick-up tube will not be damaged by excessive illumination. Such phosphors are well known in the art. Therefore it is believed that their description is not necessary.
In some cases it is preferable to reduce further the rigid part of the intrascope by providing the source of image forming radiation outside of the intrascope. This embodiment of my invention is shown in FIG. 5.
The photocathode of the pick-up tube 16b may also be made to provide a panoramic view of the examined part. The photocathode 34e in this modification extends in a curved semi-spherical manner to the side was of the pick-up tube, as shown in FIG. 5. One window 120 in this modification is preferably situated at the end of the intrascope.
The novel intrascope l or may be further simplified as shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment of my invention only one novel pick-up tube 16f is used. The pick-up tube 16f has a photoemissive photocathode 34g which consists of a layer 340 transparent to image forming radiation, a dielectric layer 34b, also transparent to the image forming radiation, and photoemissive mosaic 34c. In a close spacing from the photocathode 34g, such as not exceeding 0.25 millimeter but preferably much smaller, there is disposed a fluorescent screen 34?. The screen 342 may be supported by a light transparent supporting layer such as of mica or may be supported by a mesh screen 82 as was described above. The fluorescent screen 342 may be in some cases provided with an electron transparent light reflecting conducting layer 34f on the side facing the electron gun 28. In some cases, said fluorescent layer 34e and backing layer 34f may be deposited on the photoemissive mosaic 34c, as shown in FIG. 4. In such event a light transparent separating layer 34d may be preferably interposed between said photoemissive and fluorescent layers. At the other end of the tube there is disposed an electron gun 28 which produces an electron beam 29 for scanning said fluorescent layer 343 in television raster. The image of the examined part is projected on said composite photocathode 34g and produces a charge image in the photoemissive mosaic 340, which has the pattern of said projected image. The scanning electron beam produces scanning light spot in the fluorescent layer 34e. The light spot scans the adjacent photoemissive layer 340. The impingement of the light spot causesv photoemission of electrons which is modulated by the charge image established in the mosaic 34c by the projected previously image of the examined part. The signals produced by the scanning light spot appear at the signal plate 340 and can be converted over suitable resistor into video signals in the manner well known in the television art. The light transparent separating layer 34d is necessary to prevent detrimental chemical interaction between the photoemissive layer 34c and fluorescent layer 34e. In order to preserve sharpness of the scanning light spot, said separating layer must not exceed 0.15 millimeter in thickness. The layer 34d may be dielectric, such as of mica, non-conductive glass or plastics. Insome cases it is preferable to use a conductive layer and in such event the separating layer may be of glass, mica, plastics coated with the material known as Nesa" manufactured by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. It may also be made of tin salts, such as halides or oxides, cadmium salts or metal powders, such as of silver. In some cases it is preferable to make the separating layer of the two layers adjacent to each other, one of them being an insulating or semi-conducting layer, another one being a conducting layer. It is obvious that the composite photocathode 34g may be deposited on the wall of the vacuum tube or may be held by supporting means within the vacuum tube independently of the end walls of said tube. Such supporting means may be either in the form of mesh screen or of a continuous element which were both described above. The fluorescent layer 34e must be of phosphors having a very short persistence, such as of the order of l micro-second, which were described above. The electron transparent layer 34f serves to improve efficiency of the light output from the fluorescent layer 34e and may be of aluminum. In some cases it may be omitted.
This system may also be used in the way shown in the intrascope la which has optical system between pick-up tube 16a and tube 16b and it is shown in FIG. 4a. In such case the novel pick-up tube 16b has the mosaic photocathode 34 described above but the electrode 33 is eliminated; see FIG. 4a. The scanning of charge image produced on the photoemissive mosaic 340 is accomplished by the fluorescent light spot from the tube 16a which is projected on the mosaic 34c by lens 15c. The impingement of the flyinglight spot which skans the photocathode 34 in television raster produces photoemission from the layer 346, which is modulated by charge image present thereon. As a result successive electrical signals are formed which can be taken off the signal plate 34a and can be converted into video signals in the manner well known in the art.
This novel television camera can also be used by placing the novel tube 16b in close apposition to the tube 16a; see FIG. 4b.
The fluorescent screen 34e if made of a curved semi-spherical shape will help to reduce pin-cushion distortion inherent in electrostatic deflection system. In addition the photocathode of the pick-up tube 16b may also preferably have a curved semi-spherical shape which will help overcome further distortion due to electrostatic scannong. The use in combination of a curved fluorescent screen and of a curved photocathode represents an important improvement of my camera.
The intrascope illustrated in FIGS. 4, 4a and 4b may also be simplified by providing the source of image forming radiation outside of the intrascope as was explained above.
In case a true color image of the examined part is wanted, a rotating color wheel 50, drum, or truncated cone, composed of plural, e.g., three primary chromatic filters 51, 52 and 53, is placed before the television pick-up tube 16b; see FIG. 6. A similar wheel 50a rotating synchronously with the first color wheel 50 is placed in front of the picture tube 37 in the receiver. Each examined field is scanned and reproduced in succession through a different primary color in the filter wheel. Therefore, three colored images, red, yellow and blue are projected on the final viewing screen 56 in one-fortieth second. The persistance of vision lasts longer than one-fortieth of a second. Therefore, these three color images fuse in the mind of the observer and a muIti-colored reproduction 57 corresponding to the true colors of the examined part results. The color wheels 50 and 50a are driven by induction motor located outside of the examined part, synchronized by synchronization stage which compares the incoming pulses with locally generated ones and thereby controls the speed and the phase of the disc. Since the color wheels synchronization is obtained from the video wave form, the phasing of the color filters is automatically selected, that is, a given color automatically appears before the receiver tube when that color is present before the pick-up tube, as it is well known in television art. The motor may also be located in the examined part.
The illuminating system in this modification of the intrascope is the same as described above and shown in FIG. 1. The mounting of the illuminating system also may be the same as shown in FIG. 1. The optical system 15 is essentially the same as described above and shown in FIG. 1. In some cases additional lenses may be used between the rotating wheel 50 and the television pick-tube 16b, 16f or any other pick-up tube described above for a better focusing of the image of the examined part on the photocathode of the pick-up tube. The mounting of the optical system may be the same as shown in FIG. 1. The rotating color wheel 50 in front of the television pick-up tube has three sections of colored glass corresponding to three basic chromatic values such as red 51, blue 52 and yellow 53, and may be mounted on the bracket 59. The rotating wheel is activated by the synchronous motor situated outside of the examined part and connected to the wheel by means of the flexible insulated cable.
The image of the examined part is projected by the optical system onto the photocathode of the television pick-up tube through the rotating multicolor wheel 50 and is converted by said television pick-up tube into video signals having the pattern of the examined part in the same way as was explained above. The video signals are transmitted by the flexible coaxial cable to the amplifier outside of the examined part. The amplified video signals are conducted by the coaxial cable to the viewing tube 37 of the kinescope type. The video signals modulate the scanning beam 60 of the kinescope 37. The modulated scanning beam in the kinescope striking the fluorescent screen 61 of the kinescope is reproducing the images of the examined part. These images are projected through the color wheel 50a rotating synchronously with the similar color wheel 50 in front of the pick-up tube. In this way three colored images of the examined part are projected on the final screen 56 in one-fortieth of a second, blending thereby into one multicolored image due to persistence of the vision of the observer. The resulting multicolored images 57 can be visually examined on the screen 56 or may be recorded. It is obvious that with all intrascopes described above this color system may be used.
Instead of a rotating color disc or drum the color images may be produced by using sequentially three sources of illumination, such as a source of red light, a source of yellow light and a source of blue light. First the red light, for example, is flashed on the examined object and the red image is produced thereby and is transmitted to receivers. Next the yellow light is flashed on and the yellow image is produced and transmitted to receivers. Next the blue light is flashed on the examined object and the blue image is produced and transmitted to receivers. If the red, yellow and blue images are all produced in one-fortieth of a second, they will blend in examiners eye into a multicolor image without the use of any rotating color filters.
In some cases the use of the rotating color disc, drum or truncated cone may not be convenient and a system using a stationary color filter may be preferable. It is obvious that the rotating color disc may be replaced by stationary color filters such as dichroic mirrors, but in such case two or three pick-up tuhes must be provided in the intrascope. It is to be understood that all such color television systems come also within the scope of my invention. In order to use a stationary color filter with one pick-up tube only it is necessary to split the image by suitable optical means into plural, e.g., two or three images and to project said split images through the stationary color filter on separate areas of the photocathode. This embodiment of my invention is shown in FIG. 7. The image 64 of the examined part is projected by lens 65 between two mirrors 66 and 67. The mirrors are parallel to each other and equidistant from the optical axis. The mirrors produce from the original image 64 multiple secondary images such as 64a, 64b, 640, etc. The lens 65a projects the image 64 and the secondary image 640 and 64b on the different areas A, B and C of the photocathode 68 of the pick-up tube, which may be of any type described above. There are many optical systems for splitting the image of the examined part into plural symmetrical images, which are well known in the art; see U. S. Pats. Nos. 2,389,646 and 2,465,652, and it is to be understood that the description of such an optical system used in my intrascope should be considered only in an illustrative and not in a limiting way.
Each photocathode 68 has signal plate 69, dielectric layer 70 and photoemissive mosaic layer 71, as was described above. Three symmetrical images are projected on different areas, A, B and C of the photocathode without overlapping each other. The stationary color filter having plural elements, such as the red one 67, the yellow one 67a, and the blue one 67b, are provided outside of the pick-up tube in cooperative relation with said three different areas A,B and C of the photocathode for receiving the original image 64 and symmetrical images 64a and 64b. The filters may also be positioned inside of the pick-up tube in front of the photocathode. Therefore the image 64a which passes through the red filter 67 will produce in the area A image 640 having red information. The image 64 which passes through the yellow filter 67a will produce in the area B image 64' providing yellow information, and the image 64b produced by the filter 67b will form in area C image 61b, which provides blue information. The scanning electron beam 33a produced by the flying spot light, as explained above, scans these images on the photocathode and produces video signals having the pattern of said red", yellow" and blue" images. When the area A of the photocathode is scanned video signals are produced which after amplification and improvement of their contrast are fed into red" kinescope. Next the electron beam 330 scans the area B and image 64 and converts said image into video signals. These video signals correspond to the yellow image 64 and are fed into yellow" kindescope. In the same way the video signals corresponding to the blue image 64b are fed into the blue" kinescope. It is obvious that instead of multiple kinescopes a single tricolor kinescope may be used as well. It is also evident that the scanning of the charge images on the photocathode does not have to proceed systematically from the area A to area B but also may be completely interlaced. The basic feature of all these arrangements is that video signals derived from the scanning of the area A of the photocathode have to be fed into red channel, the signals produced by scanning area B of the photocathode have to be fed into yellow channel and signals from area C should be fed into blue" channel.
It is obvious that there are many systems which can produce plural non-overlapping images and it is to be understood that all such systems come within the scope of this invention. It is also obvious that optical means or filters may be used to split not the whole image simultaneously into plural symmetrical images but to split each line of the image into three non-overlapping line images. These line images may be projected through multicolor filter to produce non-overlapping color line images. Each of said lines will then be scanned and converted into red", yellow and blue video signals, as was explained above.
The television camera of the type shown in FIGS. 4, 4a and 4b can also be used in this novel color television intrascope.
FIG. 7a shows the use of the pick-up tube 163 for producing color images. It is obvious that the same system may be used with pick-up tubes 16b or 16b The novel pick-up tube 163 has a mosaic photocathode 76 which consists of a light transparent conducting layer 76a, light transparent dielectric layer 76b and of photoemissive mosaic layer 76c. The above mentioned layers may be of the materials described above. The photocathode 76 may be divided into plural areas such as three independent from each other photocathodes, as was shown in FIG. 7. This may be accomplished also by the insulating means which extend from the conducting layer 76a into photoemissive layer 76c. In another modification instead of this plural. photocathode, three independent photocathodes may be deposited on the walls of the pick-up tube or may be mounted in the inside of said pick-up tube in such a manner that the edges of said photocathodes do not come in contact with each other. In the preferred form of this system, the optical projection of split images is of such a mannerthat said images do not overlap each other on the photocathode but fall in three separate areas A, B and C. In such case, only the signal plate 76a has to be divided into three different areas such as 76A, 76B and 76C which are insulated from each other or are non-contiguous to each other. In order to be able to transmit red video signals only to the red channel, yellow" video signals only to the yellow" channel and blue video signals only to the blue" channel in this modification, the photoemissive mosaic 76c and its dielectric layer 76b do not have to be split any more into independent noncontiguous units. By the use of one of the optical systems described above, the image of the examined part is split into three separate images which are projected on three separate areas 76A, 76B and 76C. Each of the conducting signal plates of said photocathodes is connected to its own color channel only. In this way the signals from the signal plate 76A will be, for example, directed to the red" kinescope, the signals from the signal plate 76B to the yellow kinescope and signals from the signal plate 76C will be fed into the blue kinescope.
Another way to produce color images is to subject various areas A, B and C of the photocathode or the scanning beam to modulation by signals of different frequencies from an outside generator and by making each primary color channel responsive only to one frequency which is made arbitrarily representative of said primary color. In this way the red, yellow" and blue" images will be fed into red" yellow and blue channels respectively by means of appropriate filters or decoders. This arrangement allows the use of one signal plate instead of three signal plates in the systems described above.
My invention is not limited to visible light images. It should be understood that myv intrascope may be made responsive to invisible images on either side of visible spectrum by using appropriate photosensitive layer in the photocathode of the television camera. It is to be understood also that my intrascope may serve for receiving images formed not only by various electromagnetic radiations, such as ultra-violet, infrared, etc. but also by particles radiation such as neutrons, alpha particles, protons, electrons or by ions. In such case, the photocathode of the pick-up tube described above may be provided with an atomic particle sensitive phosphor on the side facing said image or may have a special electron or other atomic particles emissive photocathode.
FIG. 8 shows a pick-up tube 16h having atomic particles sensitive photocathode which is responsive to an atomic particles image and emits secondary atomic particles having the pattern of said image. It is to be understood that the photocathode 77 is shown only for illustration as there are many types of photocathodes sensitive to atomic particles, as evidenced by my above mentioned patents. The target 78 is scanned by a slow electron beam 330 from the electrode 33 in the manner described above. The electrons of the scanning beam 33a are deposited on the dielectric layer 79 of the target and are stored there. At the time of impingement of the beam of gamma rays or of atomic particles from the photocathode some cases the photocathode 77 may be in apposition with the target 78.
The above described type of pick-up tube may also operate using a fast scanning electron beam instead of a slow beam. This modification is preferable in cases in which the particles emitted by the photocathode 77 have small velocity, for example, in case of a photoemissive cathode. In such case the signal plate 80 should be on the side of the target 79 'which faces the scanning electrode 33. The rest of the operation of this intrascope may be the same as described above.
The storage target may also be of the composite type and may consist of a fluorescent light reflecting layer 81, a fluorescent layer 81a, a light transparent dielectric layer 81b, such as of mica, glass or silica, and a photoemissive mosaic layer 81a, as shown in FIG. 8a. In some cases the photocathode 77 and the composite storage target 83 may be in apposition to each other, which means contiguous to each other. In some applications the storage target 83 may also be used instead of the photocathode 77 and will serve to receive an image of invisible radiation and to convert said image into a charge image. Also the target 78 may serve as a photocathode; see FIG. 8b.
Furthermore, my intrascope may serve for investigating images produced by supersonic radiation. In such case, the photocathode of the pick-up tubes described above is replaced by the supersonic sensitive photocathode, for example, of quartz, compounds of titanium, such as barium titanate or lead titanate, or Rochelle Salt or ADP. The intrascope must have at its distal end a membrane and must also have a medium to transmit supersonic vibrations to pick-up tube. Instead of amembrane, the end-wall of pick-up tube may form the end of intrascope and will then receive supersonic image directly.
When using an invisible radiation for producing an image of the examined part, the color reproduction of said image may also be obtained, as it is explained in my U.S. Pat. No. 2,593,925. Another system for color reproduction of invisible radiation images is to make separate sub-photocathodes A, B and C, as described above, selectively sensitive to different groups of frequencies present in said invisible radiation image. For example, sub-photocathode A may be made to receive radiation only of wavelength 34,000 A. Either by means of a special selective filter in front of said sub-photocathode or by making the photosensitive surface selectively responsive only to said wavelength. In the same manner the sub-photocathode B will receive only radiation of LOCO-2,000 A. It is obvious that the wavelengths quoted above should be considered only in an illustrative and not in a limiting sense. In the same manner radiation on the far end of the spectrum may be arbitrarily divided in various groups of frequencies. By assigning arbitrarily three color channels, such as red", yellow" and blue" to said three sub-photocathodes, a multicolor reproductionof an invisible image may be obtained. Also, the rotating color disc or drum which is provided instead of visible color filters with filters selective for various frequencies present in the invisible image may be used for the same purpose. This modification will then allow the use of only one photocathode instead of three sub-photocathodes.
In many cases it is preferable to have the source of invisible light or of other image forming radiation used for examination independent of my intrascope and outside of the intrascope. In such arrangement the source of image forming radiation may be introduced prior to or subsequent to introduction of the intrascope into the examined part. This embodiment of my invention will facilitate the insertion of the intrascope as it will reduce the size of its rigid parts.
The novel television cameras described above both for invisible and visible image forming radiation operate by means of the photoemissive effect or by means of bombardment induced conductivity effect. It should be understood, however, that similar television cameras which may use a photoconductive or photovoltaic effect instead of a photoemissive effect, described above, come also within the scope of my invention.
It is evident that all intrascope used for receiving images or signals of ionizing radiations, such as gamma rays, electrons, neutrons, protons, etc. may serve to reproduce images without having any optical system. In such case the window of the intrascope is preferably situated at the distal end of the intrascope, as shown in FIGS. and 6.
All the intrascopes described above may be further reduced in size by omitting the encasing and holding member 26, as shown in FIG. 5a. In this modification of my invention, the television pick-up tube may be of any of the types described above. The television pick-up tube may be inserted into the examined part by means of a flexible or semi-flexible pushing guide 150, according to the type of the examined object. The television camera, e.g., 162, is placed in a housing compartment 92 which is provided at its proximal end with extensions 94 for receiving the head of the guide a. At the other end of the housing compartment an extension is provided for the optical system 93. In some cases a semi-flexible transparent tip or a tip 90 having window 91 therein may be provided at the end of the housing 92. In some cases additional windows with lenses may preferably be added in the side walls of the housing box 92. In such event the photocathode of the pick-up tube 162 should preferable be of a panoramic type, as was shown in FIG. 5.
The intrascopes of the type described above may be further simplified by omitting the housing box 92 and introducing television pick-up tube into the examined part without any protective compartment. In such case an extension or a socket are provided at the proximal end of the television camera to accommodate the head of the guide 15a. Another extension is provided at the distal end of the television pick-up tube to support the optical system 93.
In this modification of my intrascope the head of the pushing guide 15a may be fitted into extension at the proximal end of the camera tube in he same manner as was described above for fitting the guide 15a into extensions in the housing compartment. The pushing guide may also be screwed onto the socket mounted at the proximal end of the pick-up tube. Also, electromagnetic coils described above may preferably be used in this modification of my invention to secure a good contact.
In some applications is may be desirable to remove the guide 150 from the camera tube after its insertion. In such case the camera is provided with the threads 89 described above to pull out said tube after examination is concluded. In some applications the pick-up tube may be encased in an inflatable transparent sheath which is inflated after the insertion of intrascope.
It is obvious that all those simplified intrascopes described above may also be used for producing color images of the examined part in the manner described above. It is also to be understood that these simplified intrascopes may be used in combination with a source of an invisible radiation either of corpuscular or of undulant type. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the simplified intrascope may use pick-up devices based on the photoconductive or photovoltaic effect instead of the photoemissive effect described above.
For producing color images in come cases instead of separate signal plates, a circuit having keying amplifiers may be used as well. This circuit activates amplifiers for video signals in a predetermined time sequence so that the signals coming from the area A and representing red" signals are amplified by amplifiers, whereas signals from the yellow" area B and blue area C are not amplified and therefore are not reproduced. Next when the yellow area B is scanned, the amplifiers receiving yellow" signals are activated by said keying circuits, whereas amplifiers for red" and blue signals are kept inactive. The keying amplifiers are well known in the art. It is believed, therefore, that their detailed description would only serve to complicate the drawings. In some cases, equalizing circuits should be provided in addition, in order to equalize differences in signals caused by different exposure time of the area A, B and C to the image forming radiation.
It should be understood that the relative position of the flying spot kinescope, such as 160, 112 or 109, and of the image sensitive member, such as shown in FIG. 1 or in 4a, or in FIG. 8, or in any modifications of the invention described in specification may be reversed. This means that in some cases the flying spot kinescope, instead of being situated proximally in relation to the image sensitive member is now situated distally in relation to the image sensitive member. It should be understood that such modification of the position of the elements of the endoscope comes within the scope of my invention.
In some examinations the television endoscope or intrascopes described above are still too bulky to be introduced into narrow passages or cavities. For such cases I devised a novel intrascope in which one or all of the vacuum tubes used in the intrascopes, such as television pick-up tube or imagesensitive tube or flying spot tube, also known as a kinescope tube, are constructed in such a manner that all of their sidewalls or a part of their sidewalls or their endwalls are flexible to conform to the tortuous configuration of the passages.
Reference is now made to FIG. 9, which illustrates one of the embodiments of this invention. In this embodiment the novel flying spot kinescope has flexible portions 86 and 87 in the sidewalls 88. The tube 85 has section A which houses the electron gun 90 and which is of a rigid material, such as glass, metal or a ceramic. Also the section B which houses two pairs of deflection plates 30a and 30b is of rigid material, such as glass, metal or ceramic. The endwalls 93 and 930 may also be of rigid material, such as glass, metal or ceramic. The fluorescent screen 94 with a metallic electron pervious backing layer 95 and deposited on the endwall 93.
In some cases the backing layer 95, preferably may be omitted. Between the section A and the section B, the sidewall 88 has the flexible section 87. Between the section B and the endwall 93 is mounted another flexible section 86. The sections 86 and 87 are made of a flexible material which has malleability to conform to configuration of examined part. I found that the flexible sections 86 and 87 may be made of a a plastic material, such as of one of fluorocarbons. In particular, I found that tetra-fluoroethylene or its derivatives, such as Teflon made by DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware, are suitable for this purpose. I also found that polyesters, such as Mylar or Cronar manufactured by DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware, may be used for this purpose. In addition, silicone plastics, such as Silastic, made by Dow-Corning and isocyanate plastics, such as Eccosorb AN made by Emerson and Cumming, may be useful. If discovered that these plastic materials with the exception of tetra-fluoroethylene, are slightly pervious to the air and as a result they do not maintain well vacuum in the tubes. I found, however, that this difficulty could be overcome by metallizing, such plastic materials, with a thin layer of aluminum or other metals. This metallization will not impair the flexible nature of the above described materials. It should be added that ordinary rubbers proved to be unsatisfactory for this purpose.
THe flexible sections 86 and 87 are fused to the adjacent rigid parts by means of Korvar seals or by bending them with heat resistant glues, such as Ardalit, manufactured by Ciba Company, or preferably with DuPont fabrics and finishes Department's adhesives 4684 and 4695. When using 4695 to adhere a polyester, such as Mylar to the glass, the adhesive should be coated on polyester, solvents evaporated, then combined with glass at 350 F. followed sometimes by an additional 10 minutes curing at 350 F. When adhering polyesters to a metal, such as aluminum, copper, brass or steel, the above described procedure may be followed as well. The resulting bond was found to withstand flexion well. The presence of flexible sections 86 and 87 will allow the vacuum tube to confonn to configuration of the passages through which the endoscope has to pass to enter the examined part. In many examinations, especially in the human body, the main difficulty resides in constricted passages which lead to the examined organ. For example, the stomach has ample room to accommodate the endoscope, but the esophagus at the junction with the stomach forms a sharp anterior angulation which has a small diameter and which can accommodate only a small rigid object. The rigid part of tube 85 is now only the electron gun which can be made small enough for the passage through the esophagus or other narrow passages. The only other rigid parts of the tube 85 are the deflecting plates 30a and 30b, which are small per se and which, furthermore, being separated from the electron gun by the flexible part 87 of the tube do not contribute any more to the length of the rigid portion of the tube.
TI-Ie novel endoscope 84, shown in FIG. is provided with a vacuum tube having flexible walls 86 and 87 will now be able to pass in all patients through the esophagus into the stomach, as such a vacuum tube used in my device will be able to conform to the shape of the esophagus.
The tube 85, after the passage through the esophagus or any other similar narrow passages, will be distorted in shape and. will, therefore, not be able to function. For example, the electron beam from the electron gun 90 may now be directed to the sidewall 88 of the tub instead of to the fluorescent screen 94, as shown in FIG. 9a. In order to reestablish the original shape of the vacuum tube, which is essential for its operation, I use two flexible conduits 96 and 97, which are attached to the sidewalls of the vacuum tube and to the distal endwalls 93 of said vacuum tube. In some cases they should be attached also to rigid section B. The conduits 96 and 97 may be of flexible materials, such as were described above. The conduits 96 and 97 extend beyond the vacuum tube to the outside of the examined part and are connected to a source 98 of compressed air, oxygen or liquid. This source 98 is disposed outside of the examined part. When the endoscope is in the location in which there is enough space for vacuum tube to reestablish its normal configuration, the valve 99 which controls the passage of the air is opened and the pressure of the compressed air will cause straightening of the bent tube 85. Instead of the air or oxygen also a fluid; under pressure may be used as well. The use of pneumatic or hydraulic means to reestablish the proper configuration of the vacuum tube represents an important feature of my invention as otherwise the whole endoscope would fail to operate. The conduits 96 and 97 are in addition provided with a valve 100 controlled openings at the distal and to provide insufflation of air or liquid into examined cavity as it may be necessary insome examinations. The valve 100 serves also as a safety outlet in case the return of fluid or air from the conduits 96 or 97 should fail. In such an accident the endoscope could not be withdrawn from the pateint's body as the vacuum tube 88 would not be able to fold and to conform to the configuration of passages. By opening the valve 100, the escape of fluid or air is provided which will reestablish flexibility and malleability of the vacuum tube 85.
In some cases in which the geometric configuration of the tube is not very critical, instead of flexible conduits 96 and 97, used to reestablish the original shape of the tube, we may use flexible sections 86 and 87 made of a resilient material, which will by itself revert to the original form after the pressure by thewalls of the passage is removed. I found that materials, such as silicone rubbers, manufactured by Dow-Corning Co. are suitable for this purpose.
I found that when using fluorocarbons as a plastic material for flexible sections 86 and 87, a complication arises due to escape of negative fluorine ions during the baking of the tube. These negative ions cause a fast deterioration of the fluorescent screen or of the photocathode. I found that this difficulty could be solved by providing a flexible conducting grid opposite the flexible sections 86 and 87 and which is connected to the source of a positive electrical potential during the baking of the tube and which intercepts the negative ions, or by metallizing the inner surface of plastic material by deposition of a layer of aluminum.
It should be added that the baking of the vacuum tubes having flexible sections should be preferably done at temperatures below 150 C.
The flexible conduits in some cases may be preferably attached to light transparent extensions a mounted on the sides of the endwall of the vacuum tube instead of being attached directly to the endwall of the vacuum tube, as shown in FIG. 9b.
In some cases it is preferable to make the whole sidewall 88a of the vacuum tube 85 flexible instead of having a combination of rigid and flexible sections as was described above. In such case the electron gun is mounted on the endwall 93a of the tube which is of rigid material. This construction is shown in FIG. 9c.- In other cases it is necessary to make the endwall of the tube of a flexible material or to insert a flexible section into said endwall. The flexible endwall may be used in combination with a flexible sidewall or with a rigid sidewall.
It should be furthermore understood that the flexible construction of the electron tubes applies also to non-vacuum. tubes, such as gas tubes, like Geiger-Muller tubes, proportional counters, ionization chambers, etc.
In some cases the pressure source 98 should be preferably located within the examined body or examined part. The pressure source 98 may be located within the endoscope or outside of endoscope. In some cases, instead of pneumatic or hydraulic means, mechanical means, such as springs or telescoping rods may be used to reestablish the shape, of vacuum tube 85.
It should be furthermore understood that the novel construction of the vacuum tube described above applies not only to the kinescope type of tubes but also to all types of television pick-up tubes, one of which is illustrated in FIG. 1 l, or to all image sensitive vacuum tubes described in this specification, some of which are illustrated in FIGS. 1, IA, 18, 1C, 2a, 8b,
The novel pick-up tube may be of photoemissive type, photoconductive type or photovoltaic type. Suitable materials for photoemissive photocathodes are CsOAg or CsSb or other metal alkali, such as K, Na or Rb with Sb, As, or Bi.
Suitable photoconductive materials are selenium, or its compounds, sulphides of lead, cadmium or tellurium, oxides such as lead oxide or zinc oxide, antimonides, especially indium antimonide. It should be understood that all these materials may be used as evaporated layers, sintered layers, mosaic layers, layers embedded in plastic, single crystals or a mosaic of crystals.
In addition, the television pick-up tube 110 may have an image sensitive screen which combines both photoemissive and photoconductive layers. The photocathodes or screens 11] may be of continuous type or of mosaic type. The photocathodes or screens 111 may have a planar shape or may be preferably of convex shape. The scanning electron beam may be of high velocity type of of a low velocity type. In conclusion, it should be understood that all types of television pick-up tubes or of image sensitive tubes come within the scope of this invention.
The novel endoscope 84 having flexible vacuum tube 85 is shown in FIG. 10. It should be understood that the image sensitive element 16b or any of its modifications described in this specification could be constructed with partially or totally flexible sidwalls; as wasdescribed above. The remaining parts of the endoscope 84 may have construction illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 8. The image sensitive member and tube 85 may be in contact with each other.
The novel pick-up tube 110 has the photocathode 111, the deflecting plates 112 and 113 and theelectron gun 117 for producing the scanning electron beam and electrostatic focusing means 23, as is well known in the television art. In addition to novel pick-up tube 110 has flexible sections 86 and 87 in the sidewalls which were described in detail above. Besides the novel pick-up tube 110 has flexible conduits 96 and 97 connected to an extraneous source of compressed gas or liquid, as was described above.
It should be understood that the novel pick-up tube 110 may have the whole sidewall 88b made of a flexible material, as was described above, and as it is shown in FIG. 12. The use of a flexible television pick-up tube 110 in the endoscope may be in some cases preferable to the use of a television system composed of two separate elements, as described above.
In another embodiment of invention, illustrated in FIG. 13, the kinescope 109 which produces the flying spot illumination of the image sensitive member 120, which may have construction of tube 16b or 16B or 16C, or of screen 127, or of any modifications thereof, is disposed outside of the examined part and has, therefore, no limitations any longer as to its size or flexiblity. The kinescope 109 has a similar construction as the flying spot kinescope 16a described above. It should be understood, however, that it can be now of magnetic. or electrostatic type as it is not limited any more as to size. The flying spot light produced by the electron beam 112 is projected by a suitable optical system 113 on a flexible novel light conductor 114.
The image conductor 114 consists of multiple fibers of material having a high refractive index such as quartz, rutile or special plastics. In many applications the image conductor must be flexible and easily malleable. ln such cases, acrylic plastics, such as Lucite or polysterenes may be used. Especially Lucite is suitable for this purpose because it causes smaller losses of conducted light then other materials. Lucite and other above-mentioned materials characterized by a high refractive index have the property of internal reflection of the light conducted by them. Such materials cannot conduct a whole image as such but they can conduct well a light signal, which means an image point. The size of the image point I found is determined by the diameter of a single conducting fiber 114A. in my image conductor I assembled a bundle of such fibers which form a mosaic-like end-faces and which,
therefore, can conduct plurality of image points. All these image points will reproduce at the other end-face of the image conductor the original image, provided that the ends of image conducting fibers remain in their original spatial relationship. Each fiber 114A should have, as was explained above, a diameter corresponding to the size of one image point. The diameter of 0.1 millimeter is well suitable for the purposes of my invention. In order to conduct an image of an area, e.g., of one square centimeter, we must have many fibers, the number of fibers being dependent on the resolution of reproduced image that we desire. If the resolution of the conducted image should be four lines per millimeter, and if the image is of one square centimeter in size, we will need 40 fibers of 0.25 millimeter in diameter. The light conducting fibers should be polished on their external surface very exactly Each of them must also be coated with a very thin light opaque layer 1148 to prevent spreading of light from one fiber to another. l found that without said light-impervious coating, the image will be destroyed by leakage of light from one tube to another. The light opaqued layer should have a lower index of refraction than the light conducting fiber itself. Such a coating may have a thickness of only a few microns. I found a great improvement of flexibility of the light conductor 114 can be obtained by having the light conducting fibers 114A glued together only at their end-faces 114a and 11%. This is a very important feature of my device because the main requirement from the light conductor 114 is its flexibility and malleability. If the fibers 114A are flued together along their entire length, the flexibility and malleability is so much reduced that it may not be possible to use it in many examinations in which the walls or passages are fragile and may be damaged by a rigid instrument. 1 found unexpectedly that having the conducting fibers 114A free along their path between the end-faces will not cause any deterioration of the conducted image. I found that in spite of the fact that fibers between their end-surfaces were freely movable, there was no blurring of the conducted image. It must be understood, however, that the fibers 114A at both end-faces of the conductor 114 must rigidly maintain their spatial relationship. Another important feature of this construction is that the diameter of the light conductor 114 can be now increased because no space consuming binder or flue is present between the fibers 114A except at their end-faces. Instead of using the binder at the end-faces of fibers 114A, they may also be held together at their end-faces by fine mesh screen. Each fiber is threaded through one opening of said mesh screen and is being held by said screen in constant position. It may be added that smaller loss of light may be obtained if the fibers 114A are hollow inside instead of being solid.
The number of fibers that can be used in many examinations will be limited by the diameter of the passages through which may intrascope has to pass. As in many situations, the channel may be only l-2 cm wide, it will be impossible to use a great number of fibers or a singlerod of a large diameter. I sueceeded in overcoming this limitation by using in combination the light conductor 114 with a demagnifying optical system 140. By the use of the demagnifying optical system I can reduce the examined field to the diameter of the image conductor 114. If the optical system will demagnify the image five times, I can examine the field having 25 cm with the image conductor having the diameter of only 1 cm*. This combination of a light conductor with an optical system represents a very important feature of my invention, as it is not always practical or feasible to limit the examined field only to the diameter of the image conductor.
The light image conductor 114 may be introduced into examined part simultaneously with the intrascope. in some cases it is preferable to introduce my intrascope first and then insert the image conductor into intrascope. in some cases the optical system 113 or may be attached to the end-face ll4b of the image conductor to make one unit.
In some cases it is possible to use a light conductor 114 (which consists of a single large rod instead of plural fibers 114) as was described above. The material for the single rod conductor may be flexible acrylic plastics, polysterenes or Lucite. The light conducting rod must be coated with a light impervious layer 1148 of material having a lower index of refraction than the rod itself, such as carbon, graphite or Aluminum, except on the surfaces which serve to admit the light or to let the light escape from the conductor. The single rod conductor cannot conduct an image but only successive light signals.
The proximal end 114a of the light conductor 114 must be maintained in a fixed spatial relationship with the flying spot kinescope 109 by mechanical means which may be constructed in the form of a perforated rigid member 117. The light conductor 114 passes through the aperture of said member and is attached thereto. The member 117 is rigidly attached to the kinescope 109 and establishes thereby fixed relationship between the proximal end 114 of conductor and the kinescope 109. The light conductor 114 directs the successive light spots produced by the flying spot kinescope into the endoscope 115. The scanning light spots emerging from the distal end 1141; of the conductor 114 are focused by a suitable optical system 113a on the image sensitive member 120. The impingement of scanning illumination converts the electrical pattern which represents the image of the examined part and which is stored in said member 120 into successive electrical signals. The electrical signals are conducted to the outside of the examined part by wires 43 or by printed circuits and are fed into receivers to reproduce the image. In addition, electrical signals may be used to activate various circuits or devices used for industrial sorting and testing. The distal end 114b of the light conductor 114 must also be maintained in a fixed position in relation to the image sensitive member 120, which may be of any type described above, such as tube 16b or 168 or or screen 127, when the image of the examined part is transmitted. The rigid plates or rods 116 and 117 with rigid extensions 116a and 117a, to which the distal end 114k of the light conductor is attached, serve to maintain the distal end of the light conductor in a fixed position. I found furthermore that the endoscope 102 will not operate properly if the distal end 114 of the light conductor 114 and the image sensi' tive element 120 are not maintained in a fixed position. The rigid rods 118 and 119 connected to the image pick-up element 120 serve for this purpose. It should be understood that instead of rods, a rigid box, which incloses both the element 120. and the end ll4b of the conductor, will provide their immobilization as well. The remaining parts of the endoscope 102 may be the same as described above.
It should be understood that the image sensitive element 120 may have many embodiments, all of which come within the scope of this invention. The pick-up element 120 may have flexible sidewalls, as was described above, in some sections or throughout the whole length of sidewalls. Furthermore, element 120 may have completely rigid sidewalls when used in combination with a light conductor 114. The image pick-up element 120 may be of photoemissive type or may be of photoconductive type or of photovoltaic type and may comprise any material described above.
Another improvement of the endoscope is shown in FIG. 14. I found that the loss of light conducted by the conductor 114 becomes very high if the conductor extends over the length of a few feet. It is necessary, therefore, to utilize all the light available from the flying spot kinescope 109. The optical system 113 or 113a in the fastest form still causes a loss of at least 90 percent of useful light. I found, therefore, that in examinations of remote parts, it was necessary to eliminate the optical system 113 or 113a or both. FIG. 14 shows flying spot kinescope 122, in which all of the endwall 111a or a part of said endwall is replaced by the light conductor 114, which may be of materials described above, but preferably should be of quartz. The proximal end-face 114a of the conductor 114 may be flush with the rest of the endwall of the kinescope 122 or may extend inside of the kinescope 122. The fluorescent screen 94 is deposited on said end-face 114a. This construction eliminates the optical system and in spite of it, there is no loss of sharpness of the scanning light spot, because of a close apposition of the fluorescent screen 94 and of the light conductor 114.
A similar construction is used in the distal end 1l4b of the conductor whereby the distal end 114b enters into image sensitive member 120 to establish an optical contact with the image sensitive screen, such as 34, 34A, 34B or 111 disposed in said image sensitive member.
The same construction may be applied advantageously to the embodiment of invention shown in FIG. 1D whereby the distal end 114 of the light conductor 114 will be in contact with the screen 127.
A rotating mirror 21a may be used in addition to lens 21 to receive the image through various windows. The remaining parts of the endoscope 103 may be the same as described above.
It should beunderstood that in examinations in which the definition of the image is not important, the image conductor 114 may be placed in contact with the endwall of the flying spot kinescope or with the endwall of the image sensitive member either of television type or of image reproducing type, without penetrating into such a vacuum tube or photocell.
In another embodiment of invention the flying light spot tube is used to produce a scanning illumination of the ex amined body instead of the scanning illumination of the image sensitive element, as was described above, and is disposed outside of the examined body. This endoscope 104 is shown in P16. 15. The kinescope 109a may be of any of constructions described above, such as the tube 16a, 109 or 122. The light conductor 114 may be the same as was described above. The flying spot is projected by the optical system 150 onto the examined part.
The optical system 150 is an important feature of this invention. As the diameter of the image conductor 114 is limited by the narrow passages, the field of the examined body, which may be scanned through the image conductor, is necessarily limited. By using, however, an optical system 150, which produces five-fold enlargement, it is possible now to cover the field of theexamined part, which is five times larger. This feature proved to be very important in some examinations.
The reflected light spot is admitted through the window 18 to the image sensitive element 131, which in this construction may be in the form of a multiplier phototube. In some cases the solid state photoconductive devices, such as photodiodes or phototransistors, may be used as an image sensitive element instead of a vacuum tube 131. It should be understood that the multiplier phototubes, such as 131, photodiodes or photocells, such as 127, cannot produce an image without the use of a scanning illumination for forming plurality of successive image points. The use of an ordinary field illumination in combination with phototubes or photocells will produce only signals but not images.
The reflected successivelight spots are converted by the element 131 into successive electrical signals. Electrical signals are conducted outside of the examined part and may be reconvened into visible images, as is well known in television art. It should be understood that the electrical signals may be also fed into various utilization circuits provided with absorption negatives or other mechanism used for sorting and testinG materials. I found thatan essential feature of this embodiment of endoscope is the maintenance of a fixedspatial relationship between the flying spot kinescope 109a and the proximal end 114a of the light conductor 114. The distal'end 114b of the light conductor 114 also must be immobilized. The immobilization of the kinescope 109 and of the proximal end 114a of the light conductor was described above. The fixed spatial relationship between the distal end 1141; of the light conductor and window 12 may be provided by rigid rods 1 16a and 1 17a, or by enclosing the distal end of the light conductor in a rigid light-impervious box 147.
Furthermore, if no such box is used, there must be provided light-impervious partitions 142 which prevent the light from the light image conductor 114 to reach the image sensitive element 131 before being modulated and reflected by the examined part.
in some cases the flying spot kinescope 109 may be mounted inside of the endoscope or may be introduced inside of the examined body or object but will remain outside of the endoscope.
In some cases the scanning illumination of the examined part is directed through the distal end of the endoscope as it is shown in FIG. 15a. the light from the light conductor 114, which may extend beyond the endoscope through the opening 151, is focused on the examined part by the optical system 150. The reflected light is admitted into endoscope through windows 152 or 153 and is focused by lenses 1520 or 1530 on the image sensitive member 131 or 132a or both.
Another important improvement of all the endoscopes described above is the use of a flexible source of illumination instead of conventional, rigid bulbs or lamps. The flexible light source 135 is illustrated in H0. 16. the light source 135 comprises fluorescent layer 138, a light transparent conducting layer 137, another light transparent layer conducting layer 139. One of conducting layers 137 and 139 may be light opaque instead of being light transparent The layers 137 or 139 may be continuous or preferably in the form of a fine mesh or grid. The layers 137 and 139 are connectedto an extraneous source of A-C or D-C electrical potential, preferably, however, of A-C type. The electrical potential of 100 1,000 volts and frequency of 50 cycles per second up to 1,000 cycles per second for A-C type are sufficient to provide 10 ft. candles of illumination without producing any heat. This feature is of great importance in examination of the living bodies where the heat generated by conventional filament type of bulbs may be injurious to the adjacent tissues. The fluorescent material is embedded in a a dielectric medium l38c. This dielectric medium just be of a flexible and light transparent material. Some of materials described above were found very suitable for this purpose. In particular, polyesters, such as Mylar or Cronar, silicones or terphalates, proved to be suitable for the purposes of this invention.
The illuminescent materials used for the layer 138 are sulphides or selenides activated with copper or any other phosphors which have electroluminescent properties. The
flexible light source 135 may be made as a thin panel and may