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1. (WO1993017792) CENTRIFUGEUSE MINIATURE AUTOMATIQUE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A measurement apparatus for determining relative proportions of at least two materials forming a liquid and having different densities, the at least two materials also having different properties with respect to one of transmission, absorption and reflection of radiation, the apparatus comprising: at least one container for confining a sample of the liquid; a rotor wheel having means for holding the container such that the container defines a length extension radially of an axis of rotation of the rotor wheel, and is held radially inwardly relative to the axis;
a motor coupled to the rotor wheel for rotating the rotor wheel and the container about the axis, whereby the materials of different densities are separable along the length extension due to centripetal acceleration relative to the axis, substantially to occupy different positions along the length extension;
at least one source of radiation arranged to illuminate said container along at least a portion of the length extension;
radiation sensing means operable to detect radiation from the source over at least a range along said portion of the length extension, the radiation sensing means producing a signal varying with one of the transmission, absorption and reflection properties of the materials; and,
indicator means responsive to the signal for displaying a relative position in the range of a stratum between the materials defined by the signal.

2. The measurement apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the rotor defines an opening along said range, the source of illumination and the radiation sensing means being disposed on opposite sides of the rotor and arranged to view through the container and the sample, for producing the signal as a function of opacity of the materials to the radiation.

3. The measurement apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the source of radiation is a light source and the radiation sensing means comprises an elongated array of light sensitive elements defining pixel positions, the measurement apparatus further comprising means for encoding light levels at the pixels and comparing the light encoded light levels for localizing the stratum.

4. The measurement apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the light sensitive elements are photodiodes defining an array, and further comprising at least one amplifier coupled to the photodiodes and to at least one threshold detector operable to compare a signal level for each of the diodes to a threshold level for discriminating high and low light levels.

5. The measurement apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising a digital processor and timing means coupled to the signal, operable to count pixels on at least one side of a change between high and low light levels defining a position of the stratum, and to calculate a percentage of the range occupied by pixels on that side relative to a total number in the range.

6. The measurement apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the indicator means comprises a numeric display operable to present the percentage.

7. The measurement apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising means operable to sense an angular position of the rotor, for triggering the radiation sensing means at a position where the opening is disposed between the light source and the radiation sensing means.

8. The measurement apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container is a capillary tube cuvette having an inner diameter elongated along the length extension, sufficiently small to retain the liquid via surface tension of the liquid, and wherein the means for holding the container includes a cuvette holder operable to seal at least a radially outer end of the cuvette, the rotor having means for engaging the cuvette holder to position the cuvette along the radial extension.

9. The measurement apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the cuvette comprises a fin arranged to extend axially upwardly from the rotor as the cuvette is held relative to the rotor, the fin enabling manual manipulation of the cuvette.

10. The measurement apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the fin is arranged at an end of the cuvette and is inclined toward the cuvette in a direction approaching an opposite end of. the cuvette.

11. The measurement apparatus according to claim 8, wherein at least one end of the cuvette intersecting the inner diameter is shaped to define part of a spherical surface, whereby a capillary inlet to the cuvette, of decreasing dimension approaching the inner diameter, is defined between said end of the cuvette and a surface carrying a sample to be loaded into the cuvette.

12. The measurement apparatus of claim 2, wherein the container is a capillary tube cuvette having an inner diameter elongated along the length extension, sufficiently small to retain the liquid via surface tension of the liquid, the cuvette having in cross section an arched side having a larger external diameter that said inner diameter, and a flat side opposite from the arched side, whereby radiation from the source is concentrated on the sample.

13. The measurement apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the flat side is oriented toward the radiation sensing means, and further comprising an angular triggering sensor operable to trigger the radiation sensing means when the opening in the rotor is arranged at the radiation sensing means.

14. A cuvette for processing samples of body fluids, comprising:
an elongated substantially transparent tube having an inner diameter of capillary size relative to the body fluids and an outer contour, the tube being open on both opposite ends, the outer contour of the tube having a flat surface on one side and an arched surface on an opposite side, whereby the tube defines a lens for concentrating at the inner diameter light incident on the arched surface.

15. The cuvette according to claim 14, further comprising a fin disposed along the tube for manually manipulating the tube, the fin protruding laterally of the tube and being inclined downwardly to meet the tube at a point spaced from an and of the tube.

16. The cuvette according to claim 15, wherein at least one of the opposite ends of the tube is formed to a spherical surface, thereby defining an inlet to the tube of decreasing dimensions between said one of the opposite ends and a surface carrying a sample to be loaded into the tube.

17. A cuvette for processing samples of body fluids, comprising:
an elongated substantially transparent tube having an inner diameter of capillary size relative to the body fluids and an outer contour, the tube being open on both opposite ends; and,
a fin disposed along the tube for manually manipulating the tube, the fin protruding laterally of the tube and being inclined downwardly to meet the tube at a point spaced from an and of the tube.

18. The cuvette according to claim 17, wherein the outer contour of the tube having a flat surface on one side and an arched surface on an opposite side, whereby the tube defines a lens for concentrating at the inner diameter light incident on the arched surface.

19. In combination, a cuvette holder and a cuvette for processing liquid body fluid samples, and wherein:
the cuvette comprises an elongated substantially transparent tube having an inner diameter of capillary size relative to the body fluids and an outer contour, the tube being open on both opposite ends, the cuvette having a fin disposed along the tube for manually manipulating the tube, the fin protruding laterally of the tube and being inclined downwardly to meet the tube at a point spaced from an and of the tube; and,
the cuvette holder being dimensioned to receive and sealingly engage the cuvette, the cuvette holder having a compressible seal disposed at one end of a receptacle for the cuvette, and a lateral clasp means at an opposite end of the receptacle, the cuvette holder having abutments at said ends of the receptacle arranged such that when the cuvette is pressed endwise against the seal and passed laterally over the clasp means, the cuvette is held in the cuvette holder with the seal compressed;
whereby the cuvette and the cuvette holder can be manipulated using the fin while confining the body fluid samples to the cuvette.

20. The combination according to claim 19, wherein at least one of the opposite ends of the tube is formed to a spherical surface, thereby defining an inlet to the tube of decreasing dimensions between said one of the opposite ends and a surface carrying a sample to be loaded into the tube, whereby the cuvette can be manipulated to obtain a sample by capillary action at the inlet, and seals tightly at the seal when placed in the cuvette holder.