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Nano Lett. 2009 Feb;9(2):903-8. doi: 10.1021/nl803903f.

Background suppression in near-field optical imaging.

Author information

1
Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.

Abstract

In several recent studies, antenna-based optical microscopy has demonstrated its potential to resolve features as small as 10 nm. Most studies are concerned with well-separated features on flat surfaces, and there are only few studies that deal with samples of high feature density or even three-dimensional objects. The reason is that the external laser irradiation of the optical antenna (e.g., tip or particle) also directly irradiates the sample and therefore gives rise to a background. Here we introduce an efficient background suppression scheme that makes use of feedback modulation. The method is widely applicable and not restricted to cantilever-based scanning schemes. We apply this technique to both dense samples of dye molecules and ion channel proteins in plasma membranes and demonstrate effective background suppression and strongly improved sensitivity. The feedback modulation scheme is expected to find application for biological studies in liquid environments and for investigations of subsurface features in material science.

PMID:
19170554
PMCID:
PMC2819100
DOI:
10.1021/nl803903f
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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