Scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM or NSOM) is the technique with the highest lateral optical resolution available today, while infrared (IR) spectroscopy has a high chemical specificity. Combining SNOM with a tunable IR source produces a unique tool, IR-SNOM, capable of imaging distributions of chemical species with a 100 nm spatial resolution. We present in this paper boron nitride (BN) thin film images, where IR-SNOM shows the distribution of hexagonal and cubic phases within the sample. Exciting potential applications in biophysics and medical sciences are illustrated with SNOM images of the distribution of different chemical species within cells. We present in this article images with resolutions of the order of λ/60 with SNOM working with infrared light. With our SNOM setup, we routinely get optical resolutions between 50 and 150 nm, regardless of the wavelength of the light used to illuminate the sample.
- Infrared spectroscopy
- Thin film