Laser-based flying-spot scanners are strongly affected by speckle that is intrinsic to coherent illumination of diffusing targets. In such systems information is usually extracted by processing the derivative of a photodetector signal that results from collecting over the detector’s aperture the scattered light of a laser beam scanning a bar code. Because the scattered light exhibits a time-varying speckle pattern, the signal is corrupted by speckle noise. In this paper we investigate the power spectral density and total noise power of such signals. We also analyze the influence of speckle noise on edge detection and derive estimates for a signal-to-noise ratio when a laser beam scans different sequences of edges. The theory is illustrated by applying the results to Gaussian scanning beams for which we derive closed form expressions.
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