Scientific imagers are high resolution systems used to capture moving or still images. Scientific imaging is used frequently in medical imaging systems such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), microscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET). Scientific imagers are also used in astronomy and astrophotography, document scanning, digital camera solutions, materials analysis and crystallography, and many other manufacturing and engineering applications.
Scientific imagers make use of various kinds of optical technology, including charge couple device (CCD) arrays and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. A scientific imager usually consists of a series of cameras, scanners, and sensors along with computer controllers to compile vast amounts of complex image data. Many scientific imagers make use of specialized software packages for handling and working with complex digital images and data.
Medical imaging systems are used in many diagnostic disciplines, including radiology, ultrasound, computed axial tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluoroscopy, and x-ray. Many people have had non-invasive tests or procedures using a medical imaging system, and CAT scans and MRIs are fairly common diagnostic tools. A CAT scan uses tomography to show a single plane or slice of an object, while an MRI uses very powerful magnets. Ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves that are reflected by the tissue and produce a two dimensional image. More sophisticated scientific imagers are using techniques to produce three dimensional images and models of the human body. These scientific imagers use powerful computer algorithms in conjunction with many scans to produce 3D images. The 3D images produced by a digital imaging system can then be manipulated by the physician, even allowing for virtual surgical techniques.
Suppliers of scientific imagers are located across the United States and around the world. They conform to a variety of regulatory requirements and quality standards. For example, in Europe, a scientific imager may bear the CE Mark.