Toward the development of a three-dimensional Mid-field microscope

Yuval Garini, Vladimir G. Kutchoukov, Andre Bossche, Paul F.A. Alkemade, Margreet W. Docter, Piet W. Verbeek, Lucas J. Van Vliet, I. T. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recently, an extraordinary transmission of light through small holes (<200 nm) in a thin metallic film has been described. This phenomenon has been shown to be the result of the photon-plasmon interaction in thin films where a periodic structure (such as a set of holes) is embedded in the film. One of the extraordinary results is that the beam that passes through a hole has a very small diffraction in extreme contrast to the wide angle predicted by diffraction theory. Based on this effect, we propose here a new type of microscopy that we term mid-field microscopy. It combines an illumination of the sample through a metallic hole-array with far-field collection optics, a scanning mechanism and a CCD. When compared to other high resolution methods, what we suggest here is relatively simple because it is based on a thin metallic film with an array of nano-sized holes. Such a method can be widely used in high-resolution microscopy and provide a novel simple-to-use tool in many life-sciences laboratories. When compared to near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), the suggested mid-field method provides a significant improvement. This is chiefly for three reasons: 1. The penetration depth of the microscope increases from a few nanometers to a few micrometers, hence the name mid-field microscope. 2. It allows one to measure an image faster because the image is measured through many holes in parallel rather then through a single fiber tip used in conventional near-field microscopy, and 3. It enables one to perform three-dimensional reconstruction of images due to a semi-confocal effect. We describe the physical basics of the photon-plasmon interaction that allows the coupling of light to the surface plasmons and determines the main spectral characteristics of the device. This mechanism can be ascribed due to the super-periodicity of the electron oscillations on the metallic surface engendered by the grating-like structure of the hole-array.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventPlasmonics in Biology and Medicine - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 26 Jan 200427 Jan 2004


  • High resolution
  • Near field
  • Optical microscopy
  • Surface plasmons


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