Near field microscopy

Near-field scanning optical microscopy (SNOM) is a technique that enables non-diffraction limited imaging and spectroscopy of a sample that is simply not possible with conventional optical imaging. In this techniques a sub-micron optical probe is positioned a very short distance from the sample and light is transmitted through a small aperture at the tip of this probe. The near-field is defined as the region above a surface with dimensions less than a single wavelength of the light incident on the surface. Within the near-field region evanescent light is not diffraction limited and nanometre spatial resolution is possible.