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Nat Mater. 2012 Mar 25;11(5):432-5. doi: 10.1038/nmat3280.

A super-oscillatory lens optical microscope for subwavelength imaging.

Abstract

The past decade has seen an intensive effort to achieve optical imaging resolution beyond the diffraction limit. Apart from the Pendry-Veselago negative index superlens, implementation of which in optics faces challenges of losses and as yet unattainable fabrication finesse, other super-resolution approaches necessitate the lens either to be in the near proximity of the object or manufactured on it, or work only for a narrow class of samples, such as intensely luminescent or sparse objects. Here we report a new super-resolution microscope for optical imaging that beats the diffraction limit of conventional instruments and the recently demonstrated near-field optical superlens and hyperlens. This non-invasive subwavelength imaging paradigm uses a binary amplitude mask for direct focusing of laser light into a subwavelength spot in the post-evanescent field by precisely tailoring the interference of a large number of beams diffracted from a nanostructured mask. The new technology, which--in principle--has no physical limits on resolution, could be universally used for imaging at any wavelength and does not depend on the luminescence of the object, which can be tens of micrometres away from the mask. It has been implemented as a straightforward modification of a conventional microscope showing resolution better than λ/6.

PMID:
22447113
DOI:
10.1038/nmat3280

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