Abstract

A novel, chemical-etching technique produces very high throughput, polarization-maintaining probes for near-field, scanning, optical microscopy (NSOM). The process includes coating the tips with aluminum and forming the apertures with a focused ion beam (FIB). The elliptical core fibers used resulted in elliptical apertures for the probes. The throughput of the probes depends on the incident polarization. For polarization parallel to the minor axis, the tip presents an insertion loss of only 20  dB for aperture widths of 55  nm. Probes have a typical polarization extinction of 100 to 1 in the far field. These tips produced NSOM images of gold dots on a GaAs substrate in reflection mode.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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