Abstract

The influence of topography and variations of optical properties on the near field scattered by an inhomogeneous sample is analyzed. A perturbative expression of the near field is derived and its range of validity is investigated. This expression shows quantitatively how dielectric contrast and topography modulate the near-field distribution close to a surface. It is shown that the near-field images, produced by conventional near-field optical devices, are sensitive to the integral of the dielectric contrast along the vertical direction across the sample. This point is illustrated by a numerical simulation of the near field scattered by surfaces exhibiting submicronic asperities and subsurface structures.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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