We report on the possibility of performing Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy in illumination mode by means of microfabricated, metal-coated silica probes based on transparent cantilevers. A low spring constant silica cantilever hosts a silica tip at its end showing an hyperbolic profile and a circular symmetry. After evaporation of 100 nm of aluminium on the tip and the cantilever we processed the tip apex by means of a FIB, thus obtaining either a probe apex with an optical aperture or an apertureless probe having a thin metal layer on the top. An excellent quality of nearfield images of samples showing sub-wavelength features is obtained in both case. In particular, the apertureless probe allows highly resolved topographical and optical images to be collected at the same time. This work further demonstrates that the use of completely transparent, metal-coated cantilevers greatly simplify the light injection into the probe and the fabrication process consequently.
- Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy
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