KARL STORZ SE has filed a patent for improved fluoresced imaging (FI) endoscope devices and systems. The invention aims to enhance the use of endoscopes with FI and visible light capabilities by providing a chromatic adjustment assembly, typically implemented with prisms, to compensate for chromatic aberration caused by the dispersive properties of the optical materials or design. The assembly is placed between the most proximal rod lens and the focusing optics to improve chromatic correction. The patent also describes a method to collect in-focus images from the endoscopic optical device using white light and fluoresced light outside the visible band. GlobalData’s report on KARL STORZ SE gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on KARL STORZ SE, surgical robots was a key innovation area identified from patents. KARL STORZ SE's grant share as of September 2023 was 71%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Improved endoscope device for imaging with white light and fluorescence

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: KARL STORZ SE & Co KG

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230301499A1) describes a method for collecting in-focus images from an endoscopic optical device that operates with both white light and fluoresced light outside the visible band. The method involves several steps to ensure accurate image collection.

The method begins by providing a visible light illuminating means and an excitation light illuminating means. An objective lens is used to collect both visible light spectrum image light and fluorescence light spectrum image light. A series of relay lenses and an elongated shaft containing the objective lens are also provided.

A chromatic adjustment assembly, positioned proximally to a rod lens, includes a first beam splitter and a second beam splitter. An image sensor is positioned at an image plane to collect the images.

To collect a visible light image, the image scene is illuminated with the visible illuminating means. The objective lens collects the visible image light, which is then relayed towards the chromatic adjustment system. The collected visible image light is split into two different image light spectra using the first beam splitter. These two image light spectra are directed along separate optical paths before being recombined. The image sensor collects the visible light image from the recombined light, ensuring that both image lights are focused onto the image plane.

Similarly, to collect a fluorescence imaging image, the image scene is illuminated with the excitation illuminating means. The objective lens collects the fluorescence image light, which is then relayed towards the chromatic adjustment system. The collected fluorescence image light is split into two different fluorescence image light spectra using the first beam splitter. These two fluorescence image light spectra are directed along separate optical paths before being recombined. The image sensor collects the fluorescence imaging image from the recombined light, ensuring that both fluorescence image lights are focused onto the image plane.

The method also includes additional steps for image processing. An image processing circuitry is provided to process both the visible light image and the fluorescence imaging image. This processing may involve combining the two images, with a specific emphasis on highlighting or emphasizing the fluorescence imagery. This allows for easy distinction of fluorescing features in the combined image.

Overall, this patent describes a method for collecting in-focus images from an endoscopic optical device that utilizes both white light and fluoresced light outside the visible band. The method ensures accurate image collection and includes steps for image processing to enhance the visibility of fluorescing features.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies