THz nanofocusing with cantilevered THz-resonant antenna tips

S. Mastel, M. Lundeberg, P. Alonso-Gonzalez, Y. Gao, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, J. C. Hone, F. H.L. Koppens, A. Yu. Nikitin and R. Hillenbrand

Nanoletters, Just Accepted (2017)
We developed THz-resonant scanning probe tips, yielding strongly enhanced and nanoscale confined THz near fields at their tip apex. The tips with length in the order of the THz wavelength (λ = 96.5 µm) were fabricated by focused ion beam (FIB) machining and attached to standard atomic force microscopy (AFM) cantilevers. Measurements of the near-field intensity at the very tip apex (25 nm radius) as a function of tip length – via graphene-based (thermoelectric) near-field detection - reveal their first and second order geometrical antenna resonances for tip length of 33 and 78 µm, respectively. On resonance, we find that the near-field intensity is enhanced by one order of magnitude compared to tips of 17 µm length (standard AFM tip length), which is corroborated by numerical simulations that further predict remarkable intensity enhancements of about 107 relative to the incident field. Because of the strong field enhancement and standard AFM operation of our tips, we envision manifold and straightforward future application in scattering-type THz near-field nanoscopy and THz photocurrent nano-imaging, nanoscale nonlinear THz imaging or nanoscale control and manipulation of matter employing ultrastrong and ultrashort THz pulses.