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In conventional light microscopy, images are formed either by direct imaging of the object at a desired magnification or by imaging the object onto a remote surface and converting the illuminance at that surface to an electrical signal. In laser scanning microscopy, the object or specimen surface is scanned point by point by a focused laser beam. The actual image or other pertinent characteristic of the object is then generated by an electronic system. Use of such scanned laser systems exists today in biomedical research, in the semiconductor microelectronics industry, and in varied other industrial inspection applications. In this paper, we review the basic principles of laser scanning microscopy, discuss advantages as compared to more conventional light microscopy, and illustrate the technique with examples of systems in use today.