Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"If I can make you see the world the way I see it, then you will automatically think the way I think."
- Philip K. Dick

Photo-Electric Mosaic  
  A means of capturing astronomical images.  

James Weldon has succeeded, and succeeded amazingly. He has concentrated in his instrument the light-gathering properties of literally billions of infinitesimal photo-electric cells.

“He took a sheet of an electronegative alloy of his own contriving and, by a most ingenious process, deposited upon it ultramicroscopic globules of silver, each so tiny that its diameter is less than a single wave length of light. Silver is, of course, electropositive. Accordingly, when a beam of light falls upon this mosaic, a small electrical charge is built up on each of the countless little globules of deposited silver. Condensers store up these charges, which are directly proportional to the intensity of the original light beam, and the silver globule pattern thus formed represents an electrical image of the source of illumination.

“An electronic scanning beam, so narrow it covers only a single one of the ultramicroscopic silver beads at a time, sweeps at tremendous speed over the mosaic. This has the effect of discharging the silver-alloy photo-electric cells one by one, and releasing, simultaneously, the condenser charges. A current passes from the condenser, is stepped up and amplified enormously in like fashion, as in radio communication, and a visual image is reproduced in the form of light waves by another electronic beam and fluorescent screen. This magnification alone had been set at ten thousand times.

“Think of it ! Add this increase to the original magnification of the powerful 300-inch mirror on which the light from the distant stars has fallen, and you have a total magnification which runs to an incredible figure.”

From Beyond Which Limits, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1937
Additional resources -

The photoelectric mosaic idea was filed by Vladimir Zworykin in 1930 as a television camera element; the patent wasn't granted until 1941. Schachner can always be relied upon to multiply size and resolution to, well, astronomical proportions. Using it as a way to get astronomical images anticipates the use of CCDs, charge-coupled devices, which were not introduced until 1969.

Science fiction authors were quick to pounce on the photoelectric devices that started appearing in the 1930's; take a look at the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson and the Photoelectric Course Warning from Out Around Rigel (1931) by Robert H. Wilson.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Beyond Which Limits
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner
  Tech news articles related to Beyond Which Limits
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner

Articles related to Space Tech
Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.