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J Microsc. 2003 Jun;210(Pt 3):307-10.

Transient optical elements: application to near-field microscopy.

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  • 1Picosecond Free Electron Laser Center, W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4085, USA.


We report methods of near-field infrared microscopy with transient optically induced probes. The first technique - a transient aperture (TA) - uses photoinduced reflectivity in semiconductors to generate a relatively large transient mirror (TM) with a small aperture at its centre. We report the optical properties of the TM and TA and experiments performed on near-field imaging with the TA. The second technique is based on solid immersion microscopy, in which high resolution is achieved when light is focused inside a solid with a high refractive index. By creating a transient Fresnel lens on the surface of a semiconductor wafer via photoinduction, we were able to form a solid immersion lens (SIL) for use as a near-field probe. The use of transient probes eliminates the need for mechanical scanning of the lens or sample, and thus provides a much faster scanning rate and the possibility to work with soft and liquid objects.

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