The focused radially polarized Cylindrical Vector (CV) beam has been found to have a strong longitudinal field component at focus in the direction of propagation of the beam. It has been shown that this field component can be used to excite a second harmonic (SH) signal at a surface interface. Th spatial intensity profile that excites the SH signal has ben predicted to have a smaller lateral extent than a similarly focused linearly polarized beam. The possibility to use this longitudinal field component for SH surface imaging is investigated.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.