Near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM/SNOM) is a microscopy technique for nanostructure investigation that breaks the far field resolution limit by. AN EXAMPLE OF NEAR-FIELD OPTICAL MICROSCOPY Let us investigate an example of a practical nanometer- resolution scanning near- field optical. Evanescent Near Field Optical Lithography (ENFOL) is a low-cost high resolution Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy (SNOM or NSOM).

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In SNOM, the excitation laser light is focused through an aperture with a diameter smaller than the excitation wavelength, resulting in an evanescent field or near-field on the far side of the aperture.

The IBM team was able to claim the highest optical resolution to date of 25 nanometers, or one-twentieth of the nanometer radiation wavelength, utilizing a test specimen consisting of a fine metal line grating. The action of damping forces on the probe tip can be conceptualized by envisioning a thin layer of water covering the specimen surface which is actually the case if the specimen is in ambient conditions.

Although atomic force microscopy is free from many of these specimen preparation considerations, and can be applied to study specimens near the atomic level in ambient conditions, the method does not readily provide spectroscopic information from the specimen.

Near-field scanning optical microscope – Wikipedia

Radiation near the source is highly collimated within the near-field region, but after propagation of filetypr few wavelengths distance from the specimen, the radiation experiences significant diffraction, and enters the far-field regime. There are several drawbacks in the application of bent optical probes, each of which can be attributed to the bend itself. Diffraction of a separate light source by the tip.

An advantage of the tapping-mode over the shear-force mode is the relative ease with which nanoscale topographic images can be acquired, even when the specimen and probe are immersed in an aqueous or other fluid medium. The NSOM neag is particularly useful to nano-technologists physicists, materials scientists, chemists, and biologists who require ultra-high resolution spatial information from the broad range of materials encountered in their varied disciplines.

The required precision of the probe positioning usually necessitates that the entire instrument rest on a vibration isolation table, or be suspended by some other means, to eliminate the transfer of mechanical vibrations from the building to the instrument.

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Near-field scanning optical microscope

However, the straight probes typically employed in shear-force feedback techniques are easier to fabricate and have a lower cost per probe than their bent probe counterparts. The interaction of light with an object, such as a microscope specimen, results in the generation of both near-field and miccroscopy light components. Its design and function are primary determinants of the attainable scan resolution.

In order to achieve an optical resolution greater than the diffraction limit the resolution limit of conventional optical microscopythe probe tip must be brought within this near-field region.

Utilizing microwaves, with a wavelength of 3 centimeters, passing through a probe-forming aperture of 1. Quartz crystals have the property of generating an electric field when placed under pressure and, conversely, of changing dimensions when an electric field is applied.

Precise control of the probe is required because it must be maintained fiels the narrow near-field regime, but prevented from actually contacting the surface. Presented in Figure 1 is a near-field scanning instrument configured around a modern inverted optical microscope.

The origin of this damping is still not completely understood; however, several different mechanisms have been proposed, including capillary forces, van der Waals forces, and actual contact between the probe tip and specimen. Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy Introduction Fielf fundamental principle in diffraction-limited optical microscopy requires that the spatial resolution of an image is limited by the wavelength of the incident nwar and by the numerical apertures of the condenser and objective lens systems.

This tutorial illustrates a near-field scanning experiment utilizing a microwave resonator source, with a metal-on-glass specimen being scanned beneath an illuminating aperture in an opaque metal screen.

The future of the technique may actually rest in refinement of apertureless near-field methods including interferometricsome of which have already achieved resolutions on the order of 1 nanometer.


Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy

A variety of research groups have used tapping-mode feedback in single molecule detection, in studies of biological systems, and for imaging in water, among other applications. The shear-force feedback method laterally dithers the probe tip at a mechanical resonance frequency in proximity to the specimen surface.

An additional limitation is that AFM is not able to take advantage of the wide array of reporter dyes available to fluorescence microscopy. The basic configuration of the tuning-fork method used for shear-force tip feedback consists of a single mode optical fiber attached to one arm of a quartz crystal tuning fork, which is oscillated at the tuning fork’s resonance frequency.


This loss in throughput efficiency is significant, and some published measurements indicate that bent microscooy fiber probes are at least an order of magnitude less efficient than conventional nanolithlgraphy fiber probes. In certain operational modes of NSOM, the intensity loss is not a serious limitation because additional light can be coupled into the fiber to filtype, assuming sufficient laser power is available.

Additionally, the tuning fork system does not require the tedious alignment procedures of a separate external laser source and associated focusing optical components. Although much less likely, this artifact can occur even opttical the tip under feedback control, especially if the feedback set point is not correctly chosen. The equivalent circuit for the tuning fork is a series RLC resonator in parallel with package capacitance.

Some of the common near-field spectroscopic techniques are:. Upon attachment of the fiber the resonance frequency shifts and the Q -factor of the resonance drops from approximately 20, to less than Aside from the available contrast-enhancing techniques of staining, fluorescence, polarization, phase contrast, and differential interference contrast, optical methods have inherent spectroscopic and temporal resolution capabilities.

Shear-force imaging with a straight probe, however, is usually very difficult to perform in a liquid medium because the additional viscous damping of the fluid causes a mlcroscopy decrease of the probe oscillation amplitude. Extension of Synge’s concepts to the shorter wavelengths in the visible spectrum presented significantly greater technological challenges in aperture fabrication and positioningwhich were not overcome until when a research group at IBM Corporation’s Zurich laboratory reported optical measurements at a subdiffraction resolution level.

A typical SPM local probe is equipped with a nanometer-sized tip whose tip-to-specimen interactions can be sensed and recorded by a variety of mechanisms.