Strong electric-field enhancements at the apex of a tungsten tip illuminated by an external light source were recently predicted theoretically. We present an experimental study of the dependence of this effect on the polarization angle of the incident light. It is shown that the intensity of the light scattered by the tungsten tip of an apertureless scanning near-field optical microscope is 2 orders of magnitude higher when the incident light is p polarized than when it is s polarized. This experimental result is in good agreement with theoretical predictions and provides an easy way to test the quality of the tips.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(120.5820) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Scattering measurements
(170.5810) Medical optics and biotechnology : Scanning microscopy
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
L. Aigouy, A. Lahrech, S. GrÃsillon, H. Cory, A. C. Boccara, and J. C. Rivoal, "Polarization effects in apertureless scanning near-field optical microscopy: an experimental study," Opt. Lett. 24, 187-189 (1999)