Galvanometer optical scanners are motorized mirror mounts and systems used in optical scanning applications. An optical scanner reads text, illustrations, or photographs on paper and then translates the information into a digitized format for use on a computer. Since an optical scanner represents all information as bitmaps, an optical character recognition (OCR) software package must be used to distinguish text from images. Optical scanners come in a variety of types, from drum scanners for very precise, high resolution scanning, to flatbed or even handheld scanners for home office use.
Galvanometer optical scanners use rows of light receptors to detect variations in light. These rows of receptors are arrayed into a charge-coupled device (CCD) and vary in quality from one optical scanner to the next. High resolution drum scanners use light-sensitive photomultiplier tube (PMT) technology, which converts light into electrical energy. Optical scanners are also differentiated by their resolution, or the clarity of the scanned image.
Acoustic galvanometer optic scanners, or acousto-optic scanners, are optical scanners that use an acoustic wave to diffract the laser beam into a sinusoidal grating. An incident laser beam passes through the grating and diffracts the primary beam into several orders. Applications for an acoustic optic scanner or acousto-optic scanner include laser scanning microscopes, inspection systems, and radar.