ScanImage 2018 : ScanImage Safety

Safe operation of ScanImage

Laser safety is an important part of scanning microscopy.  A new feature of ScanImage 2016 is the Status Window

ScanImage Status Window

ScanImage features a Status Window that shows the state of the ScanImage outputs for shutters and beam modulation devices. The status window can help to detect an unsafe state of the system. The status window also shows the Matlab command window output. Check the command line for errors frequently to identify problems.


The status window shows the status of the control signals generated by ScanImage to control the shutters and beam modulation devices. The status of the physical devices can differ from the indicators in the status window due to incorrect configuration or wiring, faulty hardware or software errors. Check the indicators on the shutter controllers to obtain a more reliable reading of the shutter status. In doubt, use a laser viewing card or a power meter to confirm that the shutter is closed.



Status Window


The ScanImage Status Window shows the value of the control signals sent to the shutters and beam modulation devices. A click on 'Abort' commands, aborts the current acquisition, commands all shutters to close and all beams to power off.





Other Safety Factors that You Should Consider

Several safety factors are out of the control of ScanImage.  Some examples are listed below:

  • Proper alignment of microscope's optical components
  • Hardware faults including
    • mechanical shutter failures
    • Pockels cell failure or failure of the associated amplifier
    • Wiring faults
  • Hardware faults of the Data Acquisition Hardware controlling the microscope
  • Incorrect configuration of the microscope
  • Computer operating system faults

This is not an exhaustive list.  Some failures are more likely to occur as the system ages and requires periodic maintenance to prevent.  Contact your laser safety officer (LSO) for training on how to safely operate your lasers.


Always use appropriate laser safety measures when handling your microscope.




Status Window.PNG (image/png)