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United States Patent
Riser et al.
US005682448A [li] Patent Number:  Date of Patent:
5,682,448 Oct. 28, 1997
 REFLECTOR AND ILLUMINATION SYSTEM
 Inventors: Andrew P. Riser, Romona, Calif.;
Richard E. Albrecht, Durham, N.C.
 Assignee: Remote Source Lighting
International, Santa Capustrano, Calif.
 Appl. No.: 645,327
 Filed: May 13,1996
Related U.S. Application Data
 Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 374,163, Jan. 17,1995, Pat No. 5559,911.
 Ent CI.6 G02B 6/26; G02B 5/10;
 U.S. CI 385/31; 385/33; 385/115;
385/119; 385/901; 362/32; 362/341; 362/347;
 Field of Search 385/31, 33, 34,
385/115, 116, 119, 147, 901, 92, 93; 362/32.
341, 347, 346; 359/868
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,050,784 9/1977 Kobayashi 385/34 X
4,241,382 12/1980 Daniel 362/32
4,389,698 6/1983 Cibie 362/32
4,704,660 11/1987 Robbins 362/32
4.811.171 3/1989 Viola 362/32
4.811.172 3/1989 Davenport et al 362/61
4,816,975 3/1989 Bahnemann et al 362/308
4,851,969 7/1989 Davenport et al 362/61 X
4,868.718 9/1989 Davenport et al 362/32
4,887,190 12/1989 Sadamune et al 362/32
4,912,605 3/1990 Whitehead 362/32
4,922,385 5/1990 Awai 362/32
4,949,227 8/1990 Finch etal 362/61
4,958263 9/1990 Davenport et al 362/32
4,961,622 10/1990 Gorman et al 385/33 X
5,096,281 3/1992 Windebank et al 359/868
5,222,793 6/1993 Davenport et al 385/32
5,259,056 11/1993 Davenport et al 385/115
5,367,590 11/1994 Davenport etal 385/901 X
5,396,571 3/1995 Saadatmanesh et al 385/33
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
2651283 5/1978 Germany 362/32 X
2098311 11/1982 United Kingdom 385/901 X
Primary Examiner—Brian Healy
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Donald E. Stout
A light guide illumination system is provided for coupling light from an illumination source to a number of output "light guides", which are used for a variety of purposes, such as illuminating pools, spas, hazardous material zones, jail cells, and other applications where direct lighting is dangerous, difficult to maintain, or subject to vandalism. The illumination system employs an illumination reflector which has been customized to maximize the efficiency of light transmission between the illumination source, such as an arc lamp, and the cores of the output light guides. A method of fabricating the customized illumination reflector includes mapping the radiation patterns of the particular illumination source to be utilized, creating a database of those radiation patterns, and utilizing the database to generate an optimal illumination reflector configuration. The computergenerated reflector will virtually always be a non-conic section, because the illumination source is not ideal.
25 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
REFLECTOR AND ILLUMINATION SYSTEM
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/374,163 filed on Jan. 17, 1995 and entitled OPTICAL FIBER COUPLER USING SEGMENTED LENSES, which issued into U.S. Pat. No. 5,559, 911 on Sep. 24,1996; U.S. application Ser. No. 08/459,613 filed on Jun. 2, 1995, now pending, and entitled MULTIPORT ILLUMINATOR FOR MACRO-FIBERS; and U.S. application Ser. No. 08/599,970 filed on Feb. 14,1996, now pending, and entitled OPTICAL COUPLER, all three of which are commonly assigned and the contents of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference. This application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 08/645,324, filed on May 13, 1996, now pending, and entitled MULTIPORT ILLUMINATOR OPTIC DESIGN FOR MACRO-FIBERS; U.S. application Ser. No. 08/645325, filed on May 13,1996, now pending, and entitled MULTIPORT ILLUMINATOR MECHANICAL DESIGN FOR MACRO-FIBERS; and U.S. application Ser. No. 08/645326, filed on May 13,1996, now pending, and entitled REFLECTOR FOR ILLUMINATION SYSTEM, all three of which are commonly assigned and the contents of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Large diameter fiber optics, often referred to as "flexible light guides", are well known in the art, and typically comprise a single, solid core light guide which is surrounded by a cladding layer and a sheath or shielding layer. The core is the portion of a light guide which transmits light, and typically has a diameter of about 2 to 12 mm. It is formed of a very soft, semi-liquid plastic material, such as OPTIFLEX®, which is manufactured by Rohm & Haas Corporation, of Philadelphia, Pa. The cladding layer typically comprises polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or TEFLON®), or the like, while the outer sheath is fabricated of a material such as polyvinylchloride (PVC). Unlike small diameter optical fibers, which are typically used to transmit information in relatively complex control systems, these large diameter "light guides" are typically employed in a variety of illumination systems where direct lighting is difficult to maintain, dangerous, or subject to vandalism. Examples include architectural lighting, display cases, pools and spas (to eliminate electrical connections near water), hazardous material zones (to eliminate the need for sealed lighting), or jail cells. They are particularly advantageous in that only a single centralized illumination system must be maintained, rather than a plurality of individual lights.
One disadvantage of these prior art systems, however, is their use of an illumination reflector to transmit light between the source of illumination and the output optical fiber or guide. These conventional illumination reflectors are based upon classic conic sections; i.e. elliptical or parabolic reflectors. Such reflectors are best for "ideal" light sources; i.e. "point" sources, but for "real world" light sources, light transmission efficiency is reduced
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
This invention is an improvement over the prior art described above, because it employs an illumination reflector which has been customized to niaxirnize the efficiency of light transmission between the illumination source, such as an arc lamp, and the core of one or more output light guides. A method of fabricating the customized illumination reflector includes mapping the radiation patterns of the particular
illumination source to be utilized, creating a database of those radiation patterns, and utilizing the database to generate an optimal iUumination reflector configuration. The computer-generated reflector will virtually always be a 5 non-conic section, because the illumination source is not ideal.
More particularly, an optical fiber iUumination system for coupling light from an illumination source to a number of output light guides is disclosed. Each output light guide has
10 a proximal end for receiving the light, and the iUumination system includes an illumination reflector for receiving iUumination from the iUumination source and redirecting the illumination to the proximal end of each output light guide. The iUumination reflector is particularly designed to
15 complement the illumination source with which it is paired, and therefore has a computer-generated non-circular crosssection and is both non-eUiptical and non-paraboUc.
In another aspect of the invention, a method of fabricating an iUumination reflector for an iUumination system is dis
20 closed. Steps in the method include mapping the radiation patterns of the iUumination source, and creating a database of these radiation patterns. Then, the database is used to generate an iUumination reflector configuration which provides an optimal distribution and intensity of iUumination at
25 a proximal end of each output Ught guide.
The present invention, together with additional features and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the foUowing description taken in connection with the
3Q accompanying iUustrative drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
FIG. 1 is a schematic top view of the present invention, illustrating an iUumination source and an iUumination 35 reflector having a computer-generated curvature;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along Unes 2—2 of FIG. 1, particularly illustrating the iUumination reflector fabricated in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
40 FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the iUumination system of the present invention;
FIGS. Aa-c are various views of the Ulumination source portion of the iUumination system of the present invention; and
FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the computer-generated iUumination reflector of the presently preferred embodiment.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE 50 PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring now more specificaUy to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a source of iUumination 12, comprising any conventional Ught source, such as an arc lamp or the like,
55 and an iUumination reflector 14, which reflects the Ught from the lamp to another optical component (not shown).
Turning to FIG. 3, a perspective view of the illumination system of the presently preferred embodiment is iUustrated The iUumination system comprises a Ught source portion 60
60 and a deUvery portion 62. The iUumination system may be used for a variety of purposes, such as iUuminating pools, spas, hazardous material zones, jatt ceUs, and other applications where direct fighting is dangerous, difficult to maintain, or subject to vandalism.
65 FIGS. 4a-4c illustrate the Ught source portion 60 of the iUumination system of the presenfly preferred embodiment coupled to the deUvery portion 62. FIG. 4a iUustrates a side