We explore imaging of local electromagnetic fields in the vicinity of metallic nanoparticles using a grating-coupled scattering-type near-field scanning optical microscope. In this microscope, propagating surface plasmon polariton wavepackets are launched onto smooth gold tapers where they are adiabatically focused toward the nanometer-sized taper apex. We report two-dimensional raster-scanned optical images showing pronounced near-field contrast and demonstrating sub-30 nm resolution imaging of localized surface plasmon polariton fields of spherical and elliptical nanoparticles. By comparison to three-dimensional finite-difference time domain simulations, we conclude that virtually background-free near-field imaging is achieved. The microscope combines deep subwavelength resolution, high local field intensities and a straightforward imaging contrast, making it interesting for a variety of applications in linear and nonlinear nanospectroscopy.
- FDTD simulation
- Surface plasmon polaritons
- adiabatic nanofocusing
- metallic nanoparticles
- scattering-type near-field scanning optical microscopy