Facts and Artifacts in Near-Field Optical Microscopy

Copyright © (1997) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics

Near-field optical (NFO) microscopes with an auxiliary gap width regulation (shear force, tunneling) may produce images that represent the path of the probe rather than optical properties of the sample. Experimental and theoretical evidence leads us to the conclusion that many NFO results reported in the past might have been affected or even dominated by the resulting artifact. The specifications derived from such results for the different types of NFO microscopes used therefore warrant reexamination. We show that the resolving power of aperture NFO microscopes, 30 to 50 nm, is of genuine NFO origin but can be heavily obscured by the artifact.

By: B. Hecht (ETH Zurich, Switz.), H. Bielefeldt, Y. Inouye (Osaka Univ., Japan), D. W. Pohl and L. Novotny (Pacific Northwest Nat'l. Lab.)

Published in: Journal of Applied Physics, volume 81, (no 6), pages 2492-8 in 1997

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