A scanning apparatus is provided to obtain automated, rapid and sensitive scanning of substrate fluorescence, optical density or phosphorescence. The scanner uses a constant path length optical train, which enables the combination of a moving beam for high speed scanning with phase-sensitive detection for noise reduction, comprising a light source, a scanning mirror to receive light from the light source and sweep it across a steering mirror, a steering mirror to receive light from the scanning mirror and reflect it to the substrate, whereby it is swept across the substrate along a scan arc, and a photodetector to receive emitted or scattered light from the substrate, wherein the optical path length from the light source to the photodetector is substantially constant throughout the sweep across the substrate. The optical train can further include a waveguide or mirror to collect emitted or scattered light from the substrate and direct it to the photodetector. For phase-sensitive detection the light source is intensity modulated and the detector is connected to phase-sensitive detection electronics. A scanner using a substrate translator is also provided. For two dimensional imaging the substrate is translated in one dimension while the scanning mirror scans the beam in a second dimension. For a high throughput scanner, stacks of substrates are loaded onto a conveyor belt from a tray feeder.