An endoscope which reduces the volume needed by the imaging part thereof, maintains resolution of a wide diameter optical system, while increasing tool access, and allows stereographic or interferometric processing for depth and perspective information/visualization. Because the endoscope decreases the volume consumed by imaging optics such allows a larger fraction of the volume to be used for non-imaging tools, which allows smaller incisions in surgical and diagnostic medical applications thus produces less trauma to the patient or allows access to smaller volumes than is possible with larger instruments. The endoscope utilizes fiber optic light pipes in an outer layer for illumination, a multi-pupil imaging system in an inner annulus, and an access channel for other tools in the center. The endoscope is amenable to implementation as a flexible scope, and thus increases the utility thereof. Because the endoscope uses a multi-aperture pupil, it can also be utilized as an optical array, allowing stereographic and interferometric processing.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.