Whispering gallery modes in cylindrical integrated optics microcavities have, for what is to our knowledge the first time, been mapped with a photon scanning tunneling microscope. Optical images were obtained with a spatial resolution of 50 nm. By combination of information on the spatial optical distributions with wavelength-dependent measurements, an unexpectedly rich variety of intracavity phenomena, such as polarization conversion and interference of copropagating and counterpropagating modes, could be directly observed. A quantitative comparison of the experimental data with computer simulations results in a comprehensive understanding of the various whispering gallery modes inside the microcavity.
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