Proceedings PaperOptical Combining Network Utilizing Image Forming Fiber Optics
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The primary function of the optical combining network is to project one or more (four in this case) images onto a common image plane. The design of a rigid optical system employing conventional prisms, relay lenses and suitable combining elements would require considerable structural support and adjustable elements in each path to effect image size correction. On this application, the individual optical paths are of unequal lengths which prevent the use of identical optical elements. Some of these limitations can be eliminated or substantially reduced by using image forming fiber optics. Such a system can essentially be reduced to two lens elements and the fiber bundle. The projection path now becomes a completely flexible element wherein the orientation of the image with respect to the object can be effected by simply rotating the fiber bundle about its projection axis. Image size remains at unity between the two fiber ends independent of path length, thereby eliminating the problems associated with unequal path lengths. The optical paths are all referenced to a fixed coordinate axis in space, in this case a vidicon camera. The images are scanned in a conventional TV mode with the vidicon output being fed into a binary logic system. Each of the patterns is checked for overall geometric conformity as well as the relative position in space with respect to one another.