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Fiber optic microscope

A microscopic microscope inside fiber optic cables
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Microscopes are created by lens placed at focused distance, so that each lens enlarges the next image.

Fiber optic cables "store" a very small image and pass it on as is.

I'm quite sure that a new type of fiber optic cable can be planned in a way that uses reflection along the sides of the cable, so that you build a very long microscope but it does not take up space because you can wind it up! So maybe extremely larger ratios can be reached, with a small not too bulky microscope.

Even if this is not possible, you can use regular optic fibers and create a tiny microscope from several separate lens inserted INSIDE the cables.

About the field of view: a. At large ratios, you usually look only at a very small portion of the object being checked. and b. You could probably bundle several together to get a large field of view. Maybe you'de need to digitally work out the image so no overlaps.

pashute, Jan 16 2008


       I think you wouldn't be collecting enough light in the first place - you need image intensifiers in there somewhere. Which most fiber optic magnifiers already seem to have.
DrCurry, Jan 16 2008

       I'm not sure I follow the geometry of the optics clearly. I don't think the optical path-length of current light microscopes is a major limiting factor, and they can already get very close to the theoretical limit for light imaging (ie, sub-wavelength).   

       Another factor to consider: if you are talking about making very, very tiny optical components, bear in mind that large lenses (etc) can be made with a much higher relative tolerance than small ones.   

       If you're really interested, I work with the guy who invented the modern confocal microscope (and many other types also) and could put it to him.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 16 2008

       //Fiber optic cables "store" a very small image and pass it on as is.//   

       Hmmm, no. I think you think you can use a single fiber cable for the image. Think of most fiber optic cables like a mirrored tube. (most because single mode fiber is different) Light that goes in one end comes out the other, but the image is a bit scrambled each time it bounces off the walls and since fibers are so small, they bounce a lot. So to get an image, you would need one fiber for each pixel you wanted to use.   

       Unless I am reading this wrong and you want to replace lenses of a standard microscope with “thick” fiber cables bent into parabolic curves to act as parabolic mirrors which would probably have problems with light leakage if the angles were allowed to get too high.
MisterQED, Jan 16 2008

       How small (thin) can a fiber optic get?
Can you make very streight fiber optics, then maybe [MxwlBucnn]'s worry could be solved?

       By all means, HB is there for spreading the word, no?   

       Maybe its not fiber optics after all, but rather very sensitive minute light receptors, which could be brought to close proximity with the subject.
pashute, Mar 28 2008

       //but rather very sensitive minute light receptors, which could be brought to close proximity with the subject.//   

       You mean like a scanner with <large number> dots per inch?
Ling, Mar 28 2008


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