Photonics-based technologies rely on ever smaller devices and systems, which require accurate control of 3-D electromagnetic fields. Many microscopy techniques can map field characteristics by collecting radiation that is either coupled through or scattered off a subwavelength probe. What makes optical measurements challenging is that detecting radiation typically involves a photon-to-electron conversion. Moreover, guiding or scattering light at subwavelength scales involves interactions with metallic structures leading to thermal effects. We have proposed a way to overcome these challenges while maintaining the attributes of near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM). We showed that the mechanical action of light, i.e., the optically induced forces (OIF) exerted on a scanning probe, can be exploited for quantifying properties of electromagnetic fields.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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