Near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) offers subwavelength optical resolution beyond the diffraction limit, enabling practical applications in optical imaging, sensing and nanolithography. However, due to the sub-100 nm size of apertures, conventional NSOM aperture probes suffer from the constrains of the strong attenuation of the throughput and limited the spatial resolution. To solve the problem, we designed a novel scheme for apertureless plasmonic probes with radial internal illumination. Employing non-periodic multi-rings geometry for plasmonic excitations, surface plasmons adiabatically nanofocuse energy at tip and the full width at half maximum of the optimal design is ∼18 nm. The proposed probe was optimized with 2D finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) analysis and realistic parabolic probe geometries. Comprehensive electromagnetic simulation shows that the optimal probe feature obeys Fabry-Pérot condition on the plasmonic metallic wall, giving rise to substantial field enhancement up to 6 orders of magnitude greater than conventional aperture probes without degrading its spatial resolution. We fabricated the proposed probe which possesses apex angle (∼ 22 degree) and tip radius (∼ 30 nm). Finally, the proposed near field plasmonic probe effectively combining the high resolution of apertureless probes with high throughput can enable the proposed plasmonic NSOM probe as a practical tool for applications in near field optical microscopy.
R. H. Jiang, H. C. Chou, J. Y. Chu, C. Chen, and T. J. Yen, "High-efficiency and high-resolution apertureless plasmonic near-field probe under internal illumination," Proc. SPIE 9925, Nanoimaging and Nanospectroscopy IV, 992509 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 28, 2016; Published: 15 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237854.
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