Photonics Dictionary

galvanometric scanner

A galvanometric scanner, also known as a galvanometer scanner or galvo scanner, is a type of optical scanning device used to rapidly and precisely direct a laser beam or other light source to different positions in a 2D or 3D space. These scanners utilize galvanometers, which are electromechanical devices that convert electrical signals into mechanical motion.

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Here are the key components and features of a galvanometric scanner:

Galvanometers: The primary components of a galvanometric scanner are the galvanometers themselves. Galvanometers are devices that utilize the principle of electromagnetic induction to produce angular motion in response to electrical signals. They typically consist of a coil of wire (the rotor) suspended within a magnetic field, with the rotation of the coil controlled by the application of current.

Mirrors: Galvanometric scanners often employ one or more mirrors mounted on the shafts of the galvanometers. These mirrors are used to reflect and redirect the laser beam or light source to different positions within the scanning area.

Feedback control systems: Galvanometric scanners are typically equipped with feedback control systems that monitor the position of the mirrors and adjust the electrical signals applied to the galvanometers to maintain precise control over the scanning motion. This ensures accurate positioning of the laser beam or light source.

Scanning speed and precision: Galvanometric scanners are capable of high-speed scanning with rapid response times, allowing them to achieve fast scanning rates and high spatial resolution. They can scan at speeds ranging from a few hundred hertz to several kilohertz, depending on the specific design and application requirements.

2D and 3D scanning: Galvanometric scanners can be configured for both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) scanning applications. In 2D scanning, the mirrors are typically arranged in a two-axis configuration to scan in the X and Y directions. In 3D scanning, additional mirrors or mechanical components may be used to enable scanning along a third axis (Z-axis).

Applications: Galvanometric scanners are used in a wide range of applications, including laser marking, laser engraving, laser welding, laser cutting, 3D printing, laser projection displays, confocal microscopy, laser scanning microscopy, and laser-based imaging systems. They are valued for their ability to precisely control the position and direction of a laser beam or light source, enabling high-precision processing and imaging tasks.

Overall, galvanometric scanners are versatile and widely used devices in various industries where rapid and precise laser scanning or light beam steering is required. Their high-speed operation, precision, and flexibility make them essential components in many laser-based systems and applications.
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