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Optimized apertureless optical near-field probes with 15 nm optical resolution

: Frey, H.G.; Bolwien, C.; Brandenburg, A.; Ros, R.; Anselmetti, D.


Nanotechnology 17 (2006), No.13, pp.3105-3110
ISSN: 0957-4484
ISSN: 1361-6528
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPM ()
optimized apertureless optical near-field probe; back-illuminated full body glass tip; optical resolution; thin metal layer; SNOM; high electric field intensity; low background illumination; angular illumination direction; polarization; single dye molecule; classical diffraction limit; 10 to 15 nm; 15 to 25 nm

Back-illuminated full body glass tips coated with a thin metal layer can be used as local probes for apertureless scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM). In order to achieve high spatial resolution, high electric field intensities and low background illumination, the thickness of the metal coating, angular illumination direction, and polarization have to be optimized. Optimal conditions have been calculated and experimentally verified for 10-15 nm thick aluminium and 15-25 nm thick silver layers. Upon imaging single dye molecules, characteristic single and double-peak patterns with peak widths down to 15 nm could be measured, exhibiting an optical resolution which exceeds the classical diffraction limit of Abbe significantly.