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J Microsc. 2001 May;202(Pt 2):374-8.

Near-field effects in single molecule emission.

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  • 1Applied Optics Group, Department of Applied Physics and MESA Research Institute, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. h.gersen@tn.utwente.nl


We present the first experimental proof of the influence of a nearby nano-sized metal object on the angular photon emission by a single molecule. A novel angular sensitive detection scheme is implemented in an existing near-field scanning optical microscope (NSOM). The positioning accuracy ( approximately 1 nm) of the NSOM allows a systematic investigation of the intensity ratio between two different half-spaces as a function of the position of the metal-glass interfaces of the probe with respect to the single emitter. The observed effects are shown to be particularly strong for molecules that are excited mainly below the rims of the aperture. An excellent agreement is found between experiments and numerical simulations for these molecules. The observed angular redistribution of the angular emission of a single molecule could explain the alteration of the emission polarization observed for certain molecules in earlier experiments (Veerman et al. (1999) J. Microsc. 194, 477-482).

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