We consider characterization of a near-field optical probe in terms of detection efficiency of different spatial frequencies associated with propagating and evanescent field components. The former are both detected with and radiated from an etched single-mode fiber tip, showing reciprocity of collection and illumination modes. Making use of a collection near-field microscope with a similar fiber tip illuminated by an evanescent field, we measure the collected power as a function of the field spatial frequency in different polarization configurations. Considering a two-dimensional probe configuration, numerical simulations of detection efficiency based on the eigenmode expansion technique are carried out for different tip apex angles. The detection roll-off for high spatial frequencies observed in the experiment and obtained during the simulations is fitted using a simple expression for the transfer function, which is derived by introducing an effective point of (dipolelike) detection inside the probe tip. It is found to be possible to fit reasonably well both the experimental and the simulation data for evanescent field components, implying that the developed approximation of the near-field transfer function can serve as a simple, rational, and sufficiently reliable means of fiber probe characterization.
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