Development of a catadioptric endoscope objective with forward and side views
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Autofluorescence endoscopy is a promising functional imaging technique to improve screening of pre-cancerous or early cancer lesions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Tissue autofluorescence signal is weak compared to white light reflectance imaging. Conventional forward-viewing endoscopes are inefficient in the collection of light from objects of interest along on the GI luminal wall. A key component of a complete autofluorescence endoscope is the light collection module. In this paper, we report the design, optimization, prototype development, and testing of an endoscope objective that is capable of acquiring simultaneous forward and radial views. The radial-view optical design was optimized for a balance between image quality and light collection. Modulation transfer function (MTF), entrance pupil radius, manufacturability, and field-of-view were parameters used in the lens optimization. In comparison with the typical forward-viewing endoscopes, our nonsequential ray trace simulations suggest the proposed radial-view design is more practical in the light collection. To validate the proposed simulation methods, a 3:1 scaled-up prototype was fabricated. Contrast measurements were taken with the prototype, and then compared with the simulated MTF.