Abstract

The imaging properties of the transmission-illumination mode of a scanning near-field optical microscope are investigated. Three-dimensional calculations of the power transmitted into classically allowed and forbidden regions for a nonsymmetrically positioned amplitude object are implemented by use of the finite-difference time-domain solution of Maxwell’s equations. The evolution of the images with the distance from the object as well as the effect of the polarization of the illumination is shown. The computations show that for applications involving the imaging of an amplitude object, the use of the allowed light is preferred. Collection of light from both the allowed and the forbidden zones leads to degraded contrast and resolution.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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