Joseph P. Fitch
Sparse Aperture Endoscope
U.S. Patent 5,919,128
July 6, 1999
An endoscope that has a smaller imaging component, maintains resolution of a wide-diameter optical system while increasing tool access, and allows stereographic or interferometric processing for depth and perspective information and visualization. Because its imaging optics are smaller, more of its volume can be used for nonimaging tools, thus permitting smaller incisions when it is used in surgical and diagnostic medical applications. In turn, it produces less trauma to the patient or allows access to smaller volumes than is possible with larger instruments. The endoscope has fiber-optic light pipes in an outer layer for illumination, a multipupil imaging system in an inner annulus, and an access channel for other tools in the center. The endoscope can be used as a flexible scope, thus increasing its utility. Because the endoscope uses a multiaperture pupil, it can also be used as an optical array, allowing stereographic or interferometric processing.
G. Bryan Balazs and Patricia R. Lewis
Mediated Electrochemical Oxidation of Organic Wastes Using a Co (III) Mediator in a Neutral Electrolyte
U.S. Patent 5,919,350
July 6, 1999
An electrochemical cell with a cobalt (III) mediator and neutral pH anolyte, which provides efficient destruction of organic and mixed wastes. The organic waste is concentrated in the anolyte reservoir, where the cobalt mediator oxidizes the organics and insoluble radioactive species and is regenerated at the anode until all organics are converted to carbon dioxide and destroyed. The neutral electrolyte is noncorrosive and thus extends the lifetime of the cell and its components.
Jay A. Skidmore and Barry L. Freitas
Microlens Frames for Laser Diode Arrays
U.S. Patent 5,923,481
July 13, 1999
Monolithic microlens frames to enable the fabrication of monolithic laser diode arrays. They can be manufactured inexpensively and have high registration and inherent focal length compensation for any lens diameter variation. A monolithic substrate is used to fabricate a low-cost microlens array. The substrate is wet-etched or sawed with a series of V grooves. The V grooves can be created using wet-etching by exploiting the large etch-rate selectivity of different crystal planes. The V grooves provide a support frame for either cylindrical or custom-shaped microlenses. Because the microlens frames are formed by photolithographic semiconductor batch-processing techniques, they can be formed inexpensively over large areas with precise lateral and vertical registration. The V groove has an important advantage for preserving the correct focus for lenses of varying diameters.
Thomas C. Kuklo
Concentric Ring Flywheel with Hooked Ring Carbon Fiber Separator/Torque Coupler
U.S. Patent 5,924,335
July 20, 1999
A concentric-ring flywheel with expandable separators (which function as torque couplers) between the rings to take up the gap formed between adjacent rings due to differential expansion between different-radius rings during rotation of the flywheel. The expandable separators or torque couplers include a hooklike section at an upper end that is positioned over an inner ring and a shelflike or flange section at a lower end onto which the next adjacent outer ring is positioned. As the concentric rings are rotated, the gap formed by the differential expansion between them is partially taken up by the expandable separators or torque couplers to maintain torque and centering attachment of the concentric rings.
Peter A. Krulevitch, Abraham P. Lee, M. Allen Northrup, and William J. Benett
Microbiopsy/Precision Cutting Devices
U.S. Patent 5,928,161
July 27, 1999
Devices for performing tissue biopsy on a small scale (microbiopsy). By reducing the size of the biopsy tool and removing only a small amount of tissue or other material in a minimally invasive manner, these devices reduce the risk, cost, injury, and patient discomfort associated with traditional biopsy procedures. By using micromachining and precision machining capabilities, it is possible to fabricate small biopsy/cutting devices from silicon. These devices can be used in one of four ways: (1) intravascularly, (2) extravascularly, (3) by vessel puncture, and (4) externally. Additionally, the devices may be used in precision surgical cutting.