Scanning head for the apertureless near field optical microscope
The design and characterization of a tip control unit for an apertureless scanning near field optical microscope (AS- NOM) is reported. To make the instrument operation easier, the cantilever control parts (piezo excitation of the cantilever vibration for the dynamic mode feedback and the parts necessary for the optical lever scheme of the vibration control) were placed in a separate detachable assembly. To suppress the influence of vibrations of the setup, the assembly was made lightweight. Good optical access to the ASNOM tip from various directions is provided in the system. High long-term mechanical stability of the system (~50 nm lateral drift in 18 hours) as well as low sensitivity to seismic vibrations (~400 pm RMS) is demonstrated. It is shown that external sound is not a main source of noise in the topography image (~200 pm RMS). The light field distribution (with its amplitude and phase) around the ASNOM tip was acquired by scanning the focal spot around the tip, and a high optical quality of the system is demonstrated.