Mirror galvanometer systems (galvos) are commonly employed in research and commercial applications in areas involving laser imaging, laser machining, laser-light shows, and others. Here, we present a robust, moderate-speed, and cost-efficient home-built galvo system. The mechanical part of this design consists of one mirror, which is tilted around two axes with multiple surface transducers. We demonstrate the ability of this galvo by scanning the mirror using a computer, via a custom driver circuit. The performance of the galvo, including scan range, noise, linearity, and scan speed, is characterized. As an application, we show that this galvo system can be used in a confocal scanning microscopy system.

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Since the mirror is placed 45° relative to the horizontal incident beam, for small scan angles the deflection of the reflected beam in the vertical direction is reduced by a factor of 2, while the scan angle in the horizontal direction is not affected. The result of this effect is that the field of view has an aspect ratio of 2:1.

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The authors do not intend to make an impression that the presented design is comparable or superior to the commercially-available units in its characterized performance. This is a simple, inexpensive, and robust alternative for those applications where our presented characteristics meet the criteria.

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Important requirements for this application are output voltages (±15 V) and the current limit. This application draws a maximum of about 2 × 15 V/30 Ω1 A. The noise from the power supply has little effect on the performance of the galvo.

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Supplementary Material

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