Apertureless non-Interferometric

Apertureless Non interferometric

Since the introduction of SPM, many different techniques have been invented. Among them is the Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy (NSOM) which was first dApertureless (or scattering s-NSOM) NSOM is an optical method that overcomes optical diffraction limits to get optical images with the nanoscale resolution. Most convential apertureless NSOM systems use sharp metal coated AFM probes illuminated with a far-field optical source. The electrical field is enhanced at the sharp metallized tip (as in the lightning rod effect) and thus the tip acts as the "hot spot". The optical signal scattered from the probe is extracted from the far-field background using probe modulation methods.aperturelessnon1

Despite of the high optical resolution this method has some limitations mainly because of the large background signal, artifacts and delicate measurement equipment. For example, NSOM in collection mode, fluorescence, photo-luminescence and polarization effects cannot be performed using apertureless technique with one metalized probe and IR far-filed illumination. Apertured NSOM can also be a challenge in the IR spectrum.

Nanonics solutions are based on the unique abilities of the single probe and multi-probe scanning microscopes. Nanonics enables to adopt the system and the probes for the specific applications and to meet the researcher’s needs. One example of this is by using our Thermocouple or Thermo-resistivity probe which by scanning it over the sample one can probe the IR optical field in the near vicinity of the sample. This is done without the need to introduce illumination on the tip and allows to collect a large spectrum of IR. See an application note of this technique in the Featured Research section.

Our Apertureless technique can be combined inside a Cryogenic or High Vacuum chamber along with simultaneous Imaging such as in-situ Raman.

Want to learn more about integrating IR and Raman,and scattering and apertureless NSOM?


Key Features

  • The only technique allowing localized illumination without out-of-focus light which is impossible in Confocal, PALM\STORM or STED.

  • Ideal for substrates in liquid mediums where far field illumination is difficult.

  • Tuning fork feedback allows for no optical AFM feedback and no optical interference with the measurement

  • Tuning fork feedback with no jump to contact which is critical for real oscillation of the tip in the very near vicinity of the sample where the highest enhancement of the optical field occurs

  • Topographic and near-field data are acquired simultaneously

  • Rapid position of probe on the sample with nano-meter accuracy

  • Probe scanning allowing NSOM mapping in relation to the excitation source

  • Free optical access of the NSOM head from both the top and the bottom, allowing for other optical integrations such as in situ Raman

  • Can be combined in Cryogenic and High Vacuum environment

  • Over 15 years of experience in the NSOM field.

Exemplary Paper

Direct Temperature Mapping of Nanoscale Plasmonic Devices

Desiatov, B., Goykhman, I., & Levy, U. (2014). Direct temperature mapping of nanoscale plasmonic devices. Nano Letters, 14(2), 648–652.

The steady-state thermal distribution in silicon plasmonic nano-tips is studied numerically and measured experimentally using the approach of scanning thermal microscopy.

The Nanonics MV4000 with a Thermal tip was used in order to achieve the high resolution results.


The capability of measuring temperature distribution of plasmonic structures at the nanoscale is shown to be a powerful tool and may be used in future applications related to thermal plasmonic applications such as control liquids heating of, thermal photovoltaic, nanochemistry, medicine, heat-assisted magnetic memories, and nanolithography.

Link to abstract:

About the Authors

Uriel Levy is a Professor in Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a world leader in nanophotonics and head of the NanoOpto group. His research is mainly focused on Silicon Photonics, Polarization Optics, Plasmonics and Opto-Fluidics. He is the recipient of The Hebrew University President’s Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher and is a fellow of the Optical Society of America. Professor Levy is an Editor of the journal Optics Express, has published more than 90 scientific articles in leading journals, and serves on the committees of several conferences in the field of opto-electronics.

Exciting Applications

  • Study ion transport into membranes by using a Calcium sensitive dye and locally illuminating on a desired location on the membrane with no background light.

  • Study absorption properties of different materials or live organisms.

  • Study IR absorption in micron resolution by introducing IR light via an apertured NSOM probe.


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