Abstract

The electromagnetic field incident on the thin-film layers in a solid immersion lens (SIL) system is decomposed into contributions from homogeneous and inhomogeneous waves, which are commonly referred to as propagating and evanescent waves, respectively. The homogeneous and the inhomogeneous parts have different properties with respect to the field distribution in the gap and inside the recording layers. The homogeneous part is shown to diffract like a focused wave with a numerical aperture of 1, and the inhomogeneous part decays exponentially away from the bottom of the SIL. Two examples are discussed in detail, and the concept of a vector illumination system transfer function, which includes effects of the recording layers, is introduced.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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