Photonics Dictionary

area scan

Area scan, in the context of imaging and cameras, refers to a method of capturing an entire two-dimensional image in a single snapshot or exposure. Unlike line scan, which captures images one line at a time, area scan cameras capture the entire frame simultaneously. This method is commonly used in various applications where capturing a full field of view in a single instant is suitable.

Key features of area scan imaging include:

Simultaneous capture: Area scan cameras capture the entire image at once, providing a snapshot of the entire field of view without the need for sequential scanning.

Stationary imaging: Unlike line scan, area scan cameras do not require continuous motion during image capture. They can be stationary or move at a slower pace, making them suitable for applications where motion is not a critical factor.

Common in photography and video: Most consumer cameras, whether for still photography or video recording, utilize area scan technology. Digital cameras, smartphone cameras, and camcorders are examples of devices that use area scan sensors.


Photography: Traditional digital cameras and smartphones use area scan sensors to capture still images.

Video recording: Area scan technology is commonly used in video cameras to capture full frames at standard frame rates.

Machine vision: Area scan cameras are widely employed in industrial machine vision applications, such as quality control and inspection.

Sensor technology: Area scan cameras use imaging sensors (such as charge-coupled devices or CMOS sensors) that capture the entire frame in a single exposure.

Area scan technology is versatile and well-suited for many imaging applications where capturing the entire scene at once is essential. It is commonly used in consumer electronics, industrial automation, medical imaging, and various other fields where high-resolution, stationary, or relatively slow-motion imaging is required.

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