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This paper gives a preliminary outline of work with a device which is truly an electric eye, the iconoscope, as a means of viewing a scene for television transmission and similar applications. It required ten years to bring the original idea to its present state of perfection. The iconoscope is a vacuum device with a photo-sensitive surface of a unique type. This photo-sensitive surface is scanned by a cathode ray beam which serves as a type of inertialess commutator. A new principle of operation permits very high output from the device. The sensitivity of the iconoscope, at present, is approximately equal to that of photographic film operating at the speed of a motion picture camera. The resolution of the iconoscope is high, fully adequate for television. The paper describes the theory of the device, its characteristics and mode of operation. In its application to television the iconoscope replaces mechanical scanning equipment and several stages of amplification. The whole system is entirely electrical without a single mechanically moving part. The reception of the image is accomplished by a kinescope or cathode ray receiving tube described in an earlier paper. The tube opens wide possibilities for applications in many fields as an electric eye, which is sensitive not only to the visible spectrum but also to the infra-red and ultra-violet region.
Date of Publication: Jan. 1934