Resonant Antenna Probes for Tip-Enhanced Infrared Near-Field Microscopy

F. Huth, A. Chuvilin, M. Schnell, I. Amenabar, R. Krutokhvostov, S. Lopatin, and R. Hillenbrand

Nano Letters, 2013, 13 (3), pp 1065–1072 (2013)
We report the development of infrared-resonant antenna probes for tip-enhanced optical microscopy. We employ focused-ion-beam machining to fabricate high-aspect ratio gold cones, which replace the standard tip of a commercial Si-based atomic force microscopy cantilever. Calculations show large field enhancements at the tip apex due to geometrical antenna resonances in the cones, which can be precisely tuned throughout a broad spectral range from visible to terahertz frequencies by adjusting the cone length. Spectroscopic analysis of these probes by electron energy loss spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared near-field spectroscopy corroborates their functionality as resonant antennas and verifies the broad tunability. By employing the novel probes in a scattering-type near-field microscope and imaging a single tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), we experimentally demonstrate high-performance mid-infrared nanoimaging of molecular absorption. Our probes offer excellent perspectives for optical nanoimaging and nanospectroscopy, pushing the detection and resolution limits in many applications, including nanoscale infrared mapping of organic, molecular, and biological materials, nanocomposites, or nanodevices.