Abstract

A single scanning nano-slit is used to study aerial image characteristics. Finite-difference time-domain simulations reveal that, in the far field of such a slit, the detected image contrast is very high over a large spatial frequency range regardless of the polarization direction. In the near field, the TM polarization shows a decrease in contrast at larger spatial frequencies. Experiments verify this characteristic using a 125nm wide slit on an aluminum mask at a wavelength of 658nm. Unlike the light transmission characteristics of a nano-slit, which are greatly influenced by slit width and metal mask thickness, it is shown that image contrast measurement is almost insensitive to small changes in these parameters. It is found that defects on the metal mask play an important role in accurate analysis of the system.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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