By now superresolution imaging using hyperbolic metamaterial (HMM) structures – hyperlenses – has been demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally. The hyperlens operation relies on the fact that HMM allows propagation of waves with very large transverse wavevectors, which would be evanescent in common isotropic media (thus giving rise to the diffraction limit). However, nearly all hyperlenses proposed so far have been suitable only for very strong scatterers – such as holes in a metal film. When weaker scatterers, dielectric objects for example, are imaged then incident light forms a very strong background, and weak scatterers are not visible due to a poor contrast.
We propose a so-called dark-field hyperlens, which would be suitable for imaging of weakly scattering objects. By designing parameters of the HMM, we managed to obtain its response in such way that the hyperlens structure exhibits a cut-off for waves with small transverse wavevectors (low-k waves). This allows the structure to filter out the background illumination, which is contained in low-k waves. We numerically demonstrate that our device achieves superresolution imaging while providing the strong contrast for weak dielectric scatterers. These findings hold a great promise for dark-field superresolution, which could be important in real-time dynamic nanoscopy of label-free biological objects for example.
Taavi Repän, Sergei Zhukovsky, Andrei Lavrinenko, and Morten Willatzen, "Dark-field hyperlens for high-contrast sub-wavelength imaging," Proc. SPIE 9883, Metamaterials X, 98830T (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 06, 2016; Published: 18 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2224720.
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