Super-Resolution Optical Imaging


NSOM is an acronym for Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy (sometimes referred to as SNOM), and it is the premier tool for imaging and manipulation of light on the nanoscale.

NSOM is the only super-resolution optical method that:

  • Allows for all forms of optical imaging: absorption, reflection, collection and illumination with a point source as small as 50nm.
  • Correlates the topography of the sample with the light distribution measured.
  • Captures the near-field distribution of light. It images with little or no out-of-focus light contributions that plague all other optical imaging methods with standard microscopes. Because of this fundamental advantage, NSOM is essential for many fields of research, such as: plasmonics, photonic waveguides, micro and nanolasers, photovoltaic, photoconductivity, near-membrane biological phenomena and other biological applications that require highly confined point illumination (e.g. zeptoliter fluorescence correlation spectroscopy). NSOM has developed an increasing importance in live cell biological imaging.

NSOM can be applied in all environments: from ambient conditions to cryogenic temperatures, and in liquid. Nanonics offers instrumentation for unlimited NSOM, thereby enabling a broad set of applications for NSOM, both apertured and apertureless near-field imaging. In addition, Nanonics has pioneered multiprobe NSOM platforms that are effective for pump/probe optical transport phenomena on the nanoscale.

Open new frontiers with this paradigm shift in super-resolution imaging in the 50-100nm range that allows investigation of both surface and near-surface phenomena.

Watch this video below and note the reflection of the point light source as it flickers. This is due to alterations in the near-field optical interaction, caused by scanning a semiconductor nanoelectronic chip.  With their exposed tips, Nanonics cantilevered near-field apertured probes readily allow for a free optical axis for maximum collection of the reflected light signal above the probe, by a lens in a standard upright optical microscope.


 Click on the image below to learn about the many different modes of NSOM:




See a summary of key NSOM features in our system

Learn about a breakthrough application of NSOM

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