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(info) This section provides an up-to-date reference guide to the hardware that ScanImage supports and requires. This information reflects experience in the developers' laboratories, as well as the feedback from the user community.
(tick) If you use hardware not listed here with ScanImage (successfully!), please let us know!

[Galvanometers]  [PMTs and Associated Electronics]  [Pockels]  [Photodiodes]  [Motor Controller]  [Linear/Rotary Motors/Stages]  [Shutters]


Cambridge Technology
  • 6210H and 6215H are commonly used. Small and, hence, fast. Mirror sizes with clear apertures of 3,5, and 6mm are commonly used.
  • The galvos are typically controlled by a pair of 671xx servo driver or a dual-axis 673xx servo driver.

(tick) To achieve the fastest scan rates supported by ScanImage over the full field-of-view in typical microscope configurations, the 'high power option' (HPO) should be specified for the servo drivers. This requires selection of the 6215H galvo.

  • When specifying the servo, options to use Class 0, Class 1, and (recently) 'Type 2', control topologies are offered:
    • Class 0: This option has the fastest 99% settling time to step responses, but may have small residual ripple for several more time constants
    • Class 1: This option has a slower 99% settling time, but has reduced ripple once it settles. This version includes an extra integrator in the control topology and strictly speaking has the possibility of instability that Class 0 avoids.
    • Type 2: This is a new option offered that combines characteristics of Class 0 and Class 1

  • Cambridge now offers galvos with 'reduced scan angle'. In typical microscope configurations, only a fraction of the galvo's scan angle is utilized to span the objective field-of-view. By selecting a reduced scan angle, a smaller mirror design with reduced inertia can be utilized for a given clear aperture.

(tick) Any galvanometer with servo controller accepting an analog command waveform (in -10 to 10V range) should work with ScanImage

PMTs and Associated Electronics

  • Any PMT (or other photodetector) with associated electronics producing an analog voltage signal within a unidirectional range of up to 10V can be used with ScanImage. The bandwidth of the detector and electronics should be sufficiently large to allow signal changes to occur on the order of the pixel time; otherwise, the image will be filtered.

(tick) Beginning with ScanImage r3.6, ranges of 0-1, 0-2, 0-5, and 0-10V – as well as their inverted counterparts – can be used when digitizing the input signals.

Commonly used combination:

Pockels Cells

  • For typical Ti:S (i.e. NIR) lasers, the 350-80LA Pockels Cell is often employed.
  • For UV/Vis lasers, the 350-50 is often used.
  • For either deflector type, the 302A or 302RM modulator is typically used.

(tick) Any Pockels Cell system (or other light modulating system) accepting a positive analog command waveform ranging (e.g 0-1V, 0-2V, up to 0-10V) is expected to work with ScanImage. Sufficient bandwidth is required for fast scan speeds and special features such as the PowerBox, UncagingMapper, etc.


  • PDA100A is often used for measuring power throughput of power modulator (e.g. Pockels Cell), whether by measuring the rejected beam or a picked-off portion of the transmitted beam.

Motor Controller

Sutter Instrument
  • The MP-285 Stepper Motor Controller is specifically supported by ScanImage
    • Special firmware options (e.g. WD3.4, WD3.6, KS3.4, SA3.4, and VJ3.4) are available by request from vendor. These firmware options encode, among other things, an assumed um/step value in each dimension.
    • The resolution displayed on the MP-285 controller represents this um/step value (in the X&Y dimensions) divided by 10 and 50, respectively, in the controller's coarse and fine modes.
    • Firmware versions 3.4 and WD3.4 are designed to be used with Sutter stages in all three dimensions (XY&Z). These are the standard options, i.e. without a special order.
      (info) Sutter stages have a resolution of 2um/step.
    • Firmware versions VJ3.4 and WD3.6 are designed to use a Sutter stage in the Z dimension, but customized stages/motors in X&Y. (See section on Linear/Rotary Motor Stages for more information).
    • Firmware versions SA3.4 and KS3.4 are designed to use customized stages/motors in XY & Z. (See section on Linear/Rotary Motor Stages for more information).
      (info) MP-285/R specifies order of controller alone, without associated micromanipulator

(info) No other motor controllers are supported by ScanImage at this time.

Linear/Rotary Motors/Stages

Danaher Motion
  • The XYR stage has been used for moving specimen stages in X/Y relative to a fixed microscope.
  • The XYL, XYRB, and XYMR may also be suited for various applications.
  • All of the X/Y stages consist of a lead/ballscrew and stepper motor in each dimension. Their specification includes
    the pitch (in mm) of the lead/ballscrew and the resolution (in steps/revolution) of the stepper motor. Together, these determine the distance/step for the stage.
    • The SA3.4 and VJ3.4 firmware options are designed for 0.02" pitch and 400 step/revolution motor resolution, corresponding to 1.25um/step
    • The KS3.4 firmware option is designed for 0.02" pitch and 200 step/revolution motor resolution, corresponding to 2.5um/step
    • The WD3.6 firmware option is designed for 2mm pitch and 400 step/revolution motor resolution, corresponding to 5um/step
Vexta Stepper Motors
  • PK 2-Phase Stepper Motors commonly used for actuating a rotary Z-focus control (e.g. microscope focusing knob)
    • Standard resolution (1.8 deg/step or 200 steps/rev) option typically selected, e.g. PK266-01A
    • KS3.4 and SA3.4 MP-285 firmware options are configured for 0.5um/step in Z direction. This is correct calibration for PK standard resolution steppers combined with Olympus BX microscope focusing mechanism.
Sutter Instrument
  • The MOM Microscope arranges the 3 standard MP-285 linear stages into an assembly for translating a microscope objective lens.
    • Intended for in vivo microscopy applications
    • The MP-285 controller's WD firmware option should be used with the native MP-285 linear stages


Vincent Associates
  • LS Laser Shutters are often used for the laser shutter, in the 2/3/6mm options depending on the laser beam size (at the shutter's location).
    • For high NIR laser powers, the ZM shutter blade options are often selected. E.g. the LS6ZM2 might be selected.
    • The VCM-DM1, VMM-D3, and VMM-D4 shutter controllers can all be used
    • (info) ScanImage only provides computer control of one of the shutters, even if using a multi-shutter controller (e.g. VMM-D3 or VMM-D4).

(tick) Any shutter/controller system whose state (open or closed) is determined by a TTL signal's state will work with ScanImage

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