When light passes through a hole smaller than the wavelength of the light, the transmission is very low and the light is diffracted. This however changes if holes are arranged in a periodic array on metal. In that case the light couples to surface plasmons; this results in enhanced transmission, spectral selection and a small angular diffraction.
We develop a novel microscopic method based on a periodic hole-array, which will be used as a multiple-apertures near-field source for illuminating a biological sample while the light is collected in far-field. The measurement speed is high, due to the use of an array instead of a single source. The main advantage of this microscope originates from the low diffraction of light through a relatively thick sample with enhanced transmission. It results in the ability to measure the samples interior and 3D reconstruction can be made by semi-confocal techniques. This overcomes the major limitation of near-field methods for which only a shallow layer of the surface (~20 nm) is detectable.
For our measurements we use glass coated devices. The holes are processed with a focused ion beam. The photon-plasmon coupling process is characterized as a function of the wavelength. Our experiments aim on gaining a better understanding of the transmission process. We tested the dependence of the transmitted spectrum on angle of incidence was tested as well as far-field spectral imaging measurements of the transmission in both Koehler and collimated light illumination. The results as well as the description of the microscope that we are constructing are presented.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.