Pseudoheterodyne interferometry for multicolor near-field imaging

Edoardo Vicentini, Wiwat Nuansing, Iris Niehues, Iban Amenabar, Alexander M. Bittner, Rainer Hillenbrand and Martin Schnell

Optics Express 31, 22308 (2023)
We report the development and characterization of a detection technique for scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) that enables near-field amplitude and phase imaging at two or more wavelengths simultaneously. To this end, we introduce multispectral pseudoheterodyne (PSH) interferometry, where infrared lasers are combined to form a beam with a discrete spectrum of laser lines and a time-multiplexing scheme is employed to allow for the use of a single infrared detector. We first describe and validate the implementation of multispectral PSH into a commercial s-SNOM instrument. We then demonstrate its application for the real-time correction of the negative phase contrast (NPC), which provides reliable imaging of weak IR absorption at the nanoscale. We anticipate that multispectral PSH could improve data throughput, reduce effects of sample and interferometer drift, and help to establish multicolor s-SNOM imaging as a regular imaging modality, which could be particularly interesting as new infrared light sources become available.