Abstract

An hybrid atomic force-scanning near-field optical microscope (AFM-SNOM) has been realized starting from a home-built AFM. The instrument uses a tetrahedral SiN tip for force and near field detection and is designed to provide, besides simple imaging, a full three-dimensional (3-D) mapping of force, friction and light intensity on the sample. High-resolution optical images of dielectric samples are presented together with curves describing the behavior of the collected optical intensity as a function of tip-object distance. AFM images and force-distance curves are reported as well and are compared with those obtained from the optical channel. Subwavelength features of the samples can be easily appreciated in both kinds of images, and the refractive index of the object can be computed from the attenuation constant of the tunneling light detected by the tip, with the AFM curve providing a convenient way of detecting the contact point. The spatial resolution of this kind of measurement is far better than that obtainable with any other index-measuring device. Homogeneous glass samples as well as monomode channel waveguides were analyzed in our experiments. The refractive index of several different prisms, made either of BK7 (n = 1.519 at \lambda = 532 nm) or of SF58 (n = 1.932) glass, could be measured with our near-field technique. As for the channel waveguides, the accuracy of our measurements lets us detect their presence and lateral extension in the substrate but is not yet sufficient to allow the reconstruction of their index profile.

[IEEE ]

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