We simulate the image generated by a microsphere residing in contact on top of an exposed Blu-ray disk surface, when observed by a conventional microscope objective. While microsphere lenses have been used to focus light beyond the diffraction limit and to produce super-resolution images, the nature of the light-sample interaction is still under debate. Simulations in related articles predict the characteristics of the photonic nanojet (PNJ) formed by the microsphere, but so far, no data has been published on the image formation in the far-field. For our simulations, we use the open source package Angora and the commercial software RSoft FullWave. Both packages implement the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) approach. Angora permits us to accurately simulate microscope imaging at the diffraction limit. The RSoft FullWave is able to record the steady-state complex electrical and magnetic fields for multiple wavelengths inside the simulation domain. A microsphere is simulated residing on top of a dielectric substrate featuring sub-wavelength surface features. The scattered light is recorded at the edges of the simulation domain and is then used in the near-field to far-field transformation. The light in the far field is then refocused using an idealized objective model, to give us the simulated microscope image. Comparisons between the simulated image and experimentally acquired microscope images verify the accuracy of our model, whereas the simulation data predicts the interaction between the PNJ and the imaged sample. This allows us to isolate and quantify the near-field patterns of light that enable super-resolution imaging, which is important when developing new micro-optical focusing structures.
Scanning White Light Interferometry is a non-contacting method for three-dimensional (3D) surface characterization that provides Angstrom level vertical resolution and diffraction limited lateral resolution. This lateral resolution can be improved by implementing a photonic nanojet (PNJ) generating structure. The new method - Photonic Nanojet Interferometry (PNI) allows nanometer vertical resolution and lateral resolution better than 100 nm. In this work, a new design of a PNI system is proposed. The PNJ generating structure is a high refractive index microsphere embedded in a polymer material. We model the entire PNI objective in commercial software (Rsoft FullWAVE) and choose optimal parameters for the construct in such a way, that the working distance (FoV) is maximized while the width of the PNJ is kept below the diffraction limit. To test the new system, we imaged the data layer of a recordable Blu-ray Disc (BD). The results show that the proposed interferometer has two times higher magnification and two times larger field of view compared to the previous design featuring a 11 μm melamine formaldehyde micro-sphere. The new design also increases the fringe contrast by 1.5 times and provides easier handling of big samples by allowing them to be scanned.
Two kinds of 3D label free Bio-Transfer-Standards (BTS) have been further developed at the University of Helsinki (UH). The first one, NanoRuler, is a staircase BTS featuring eight fatty acid bilayers which allows vertical calibration in the range of 5 to 40 nm. The second one, NanoStar, is a V-shaped BTS featuring two 5 nm tall bilayers that overlap at 10° angle. This standard enables the determination of the Instrument Transfer Function (ITF). A stability test was conducted on the BTSs, during which the standards were stored in laboratory conditions, and were profiled each week. Profiling was done using a custom-built Scanning White Light Interferometer (SWLI). The stability of NanoStar was ± 0.3 nm, and of NanoRuler ± 0.5 nm to ± 2.5 nm. The BTSs maintained their specified properties for at least six months and therefore allow vertical calibration and ITF determination. In addition, changes in surface morphology of one NanoRuler subjected to water immersion are presented. This paper reports intermediate findings during an ongoing stability test that will run for 24 months.
Greyscale lithography is a way to fabricate 3D microstructures in the fields of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and micro-optics. We use direct laser writing (DLW) to create a layered staircase sample for bio-microscopy use. To minimize the number of experiments necessary to determine the laser system parameters necessary to have the specified structure we used Design of Experiment (DOE) together with a 3D profiler using scanning white light interferometry (SWLI). A gray-scale mask with varying intensities was developed and used to pattern a thick positive tone photoresist. We employed a Microtech LW405 laser writer with a 405 nm GaN laser. Our results show the potential of the SWLI-DOE approach as a tool to optimize (precision, speed and structure) greyscale DLW lithography for the herein reported use. This work is a step towards replacing slow SEM and AFM devices for quality control in 3D MEMS production.