We propose a novel, to our knowledge, silicon planar-apertured probe array as an optical head for high-density near-field optical storage. In comparison with a conventional fiber probe employed for near-field optical storage the apertured probe array has a higher readout data-transmission rate and better mechanical durability. A probe array with an aperture size of 100 nm was fabricated by use of photolithography and wet etching of a silicon wafer. Subwavelength-readout capability was demonstrated by use of one aperture of the probe array. Furthermore, we achieved a 16 times increase in the light-transmission efficiency of the probe array by installing glass-sphere microlenses on each aperture. The increase was confirmed by measurement of the near-field optical intensity.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(040.1240) Detectors : Arrays
(110.1220) Imaging systems : Apertures
(180.5810) Microscopy : Scanning microscopy
(210.4680) Optical data storage : Optical memories
(220.4000) Optical design and fabrication : Microstructure fabrication
Myung Bok Lee, Motonobu Kourogi, Takashi Yatsui, Kazuo Tsutsui, Nobufumi Atoda, and Motoichi Ohtsu, "Silicon Planar-Apertured Probe Array for High-Density Near-Field Optical Storage," Appl. Opt. 38, 3566-3571 (1999)