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106 Publications

Showing 101-106 of 106 results
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    08/01/92 | Polarization contrast in near-field scanning optical microscopy.
    Betzig E, Trautman JK, Weiner JS, Harris TD, Wolfe R
    Applied Optics. 1992 Aug 1;31(22):4563-8. doi: 10.1364/AO.31.004563

    Recent advances in probe design have led to enhanced resolution (currently as significant as   12 nm) in optical microscopes based on near-field imaging. We demonstrate that the polarization of emitted and detected light in such microscopes can be manipulated sensitively to generate contrast. We show that the contrast on certain patterns is consistent with a simple interpretation of the requisite boundary conditions, whereas in other cases a more complicated interaction between the probe and the sample is involved. Finally application of the technique to near-filed magneto-optic imaging is demonstrated.

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    07/10/92 | Near-field optics: microscopy, spectroscopy, and surface modification beyond the diffraction limit. (With commentary)
    Betzig E, Trautman JK
    Science. 1992 Jul 10;257(5067):189-95. doi: 10.1126/science.257.5067.189

    The near-field optical interaction between a sharp probe and a sample of interest can be exploited to image, spectroscopically probe, or modify surfaces at a resolution (down to approximately 12 nm) inaccessible by traditional far-field techniques. Many of the attractive features of conventional optics are retained, including noninvasiveness, reliability, and low cost. In addition, most optical contrast mechanisms can be extended to the near-field regime, resulting in a technique of considerable versatility. This versatility is demonstrated by several examples, such as the imaging of nanometric-scale features in mammalian tissue sections and the creation of ultrasmall, magneto-optic domains having implications for highdensity data storage. Although the technique may find uses in many diverse fields, two of the most exciting possibilities are localized optical spectroscopy of semiconductors and the fluorescence imaging of living cells.

    Commentary: An overview of our work in near-field optics at the time, after our invention of the adiabatically tapered fiber probe and shear force feedback (see below) led to the first practical near-field scanning optical microscope. In this work, superresolution imaging via absorption, reflectivity, fluorescence, spectroscopy, polarization, and refractive index contrast were all demonstrated. Unlike all far-field superresolution fluorescence methods that were to appear a decade later, near-field microscopy remains the only superresolution technique capable of taking advantage of the full panoply of optical contrast mechanisms.

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    03/09/92 | Combined shear force and near-field scanning optical microscopy (With commentary)
    Betzig E, Finn PL, Weiner JS
    Applied Physics Letters. 1002 Mar 9;60:

    A distance regulation method has been developed to enhance the reliability, versatility, and ease of use of near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM). The method relies on the detection of shear forces between the end of a near-field probe and the sample of interest. The system can be used solely for distance regulation in NSOM, for simultaneous shear force and near-field imaging, or for shear force microscopy alone. In the latter case, uncoated optical fiber probes are found to yield images with consistently high resolution.

    Commentary: To exploit the evanescent field that is the source of high resolution in near-field microscopy, the probe must be exceptionally close to the sample:  10 nm away for 30-50 nm resolution. Here we introduced a distance regulation mechanism based on transverse shear forces between the end of a dithered near-field probe and the sample, which permitted even samples of modest topography to be imaged. Simple, reliable, noninvasive, and applicable to a wide range of samples from whole fixed cells to semiconductor devices, shear force microscopy was a key enabling technology for near-field optics, and soon widely implemented.

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    01/01/92 | Near-field magneto-optics and high density data storage. (With commentary)
    Betzig E, Trautman JK, Wolfe R, Gyorgy EM, Finn PL, Kryder MH, Chang CH
    Applied Physics Letters.. 1992;61:

    Near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) has been used to image and record domains in thin-film magneto-optic (MO) materials. In the imaging mode, resolution of 30-50 nm has been consistently obtained, whereas in the recording mode, domains down to -60 nm have been written reproducibly. Data densities of -45 Gbits/in.’ have been achieved, well in excess of current magnetic or MO technologies. A brief analysis of speed and other issues indicates that the technique may represent a viable alternative to density data storage needs.

    Commentary: The first demonstration of optical recording and playback beyond the diffraction limit, using magneto-optic multilayer films and polarization contrast near-field microscopy. Bits as small as 60 nm were recorded – beyond estimates at the time of the superparamagnetic limit to bit stability. Bit densities of 45 Gbits/in2 were also achieved, well in excess of optical or magnetic recording technologies of the era. In the years following this work, massive resources were spent on the commercialization of near-field data storage, largely for naught.

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    03/22/91 | Breaking the diffraction barrier: optical microscopy on a nanometric scale.
    Betzig E, Trautman JK, Harris TD, Weiner JS, Kostelak RL
    Science. 1991 Mar 22;251(5000):1468-70. doi: 10.1126/science.251.5000.1468

    In near-field scanning optical microscopy, a light source or detector with dimensions less than the wavelength (lambda) is placed in close proximity (lambda/50) to a sample to generate images with resolution better than the diffraction limit. A near-field probe has been developed that yields a resolution of approximately 12 nm ( approximately lambda/43) and signals approximately 10(4)- to 10(6)-fold larger than those reported previously. In addition, image contrast is demonstrated to be highly polarization dependent. With these probes, near-field microscopy appears poised to fulfill its promise by combining the power of optical characterization methods with nanometric spatial resolution.

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    03/22/91 | Breaking the diffraction barrier: optical microscopy on a nanometric scale. (With commentary)
    Betzig E, Trautman JK, Harris TD, Weiner JS, Kostelak RL
    Science. 1991 Mar 22;251(5000):1468-70. doi: 10.1126/science.251.5000.1468

    In near-field scanning optical microscopy, a light source or detector with dimensions less than the wavelength (lambda) is placed in close proximity (lambda/50) to a sample to generate images with resolution better than the diffraction limit. A near-field probe has been developed that yields a resolution of approximately 12 nm ( approximately lambda/43) and signals approximately 10(4)- to 10(6)-fold larger than those reported previously. In addition, image contrast is demonstrated to be highly polarization dependent. With these probes, near-field microscopy appears poised to fulfill its promise by combining the power of optical characterization methods with nanometric spatial resolution.

    Commentary: Introduced the adiabatically tapered single mode fiber probe to near-field scanning optical microscopy which, together with shear force feedback, made the technique a practical reality. Although earlier claims of superresolution via near-field microscopy existed for nearly a decade, this paper was the first to convincingly break Abbe’s limit with visible light, as demonstrated by reproducibly resolving known, complex nanoscale patterns having features separated by much less than the wavelength. Whereas our fiber probe and shear force technologies were soon widely adopted and key to many novel applications (see above), the earlier methods proved to be technological dead ends, never achieving the results of their original claims. This experience taught me the most valuable lesson of my career: while it’s bad to bullshit others, it’s even worse to bullshit yourself. It’s a lesson sadly unheeded by many current practitioners of superresolution microscopy.

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