Enhanced resolution in subsurface near-field optical microscopy

R. Krutokhvostov, A. A. Govyadinov, J. M. Stiegler, F. Huth, A. Chuvilin, P. S. Carney, and R. Hillenbrand

Optics Express 20, p.593 (2011)
We report an experimental analysis of the capabilities of scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy for mapping sub-surface features at varying depths. For the first time, we demonstrate experimentally that both the spatial resolution and depth contrast can be improved in subsurface microscopy by demodulating the measured near-field signal at higher harmonics of the probe’s tapping frequency and by operating at smaller tapping amplitudes. Our findings are qualitatively supported by a simple dipole model.