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Nanoscale Optical Tomography

PI: G. Panasyuk and J. Schotland (University of Pennsylvania) and P.S. Carney (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

The objective of this research is to develop tools for three-dimensional optical imaging with nanometer resolution. The challenge is to overcome the effects of diffraction which limits resolution to the scale of the wavelength of light. Our approach to this problem is rooted in fundamental optical physics—investigations of the inverse scattering problem for wave fields with evanescent components and experimental methods of near-field optics. Recently, we have conducted experiments in model systems which demonstrated the ability to reconstruct quantitative, three dimensional optical images with nanometer resolution. Ultimately, this work may lead to the visualization of subcellular nanostructures with optical methods.

Conclusions:

We have reported the first theoretical and experimental studies of optical tomography at the nanoscale.

These methods may lead to subsurface diagnostics for inhomogeneous, nanostructured media. Another possible application is to the read out of three-dimensional optical data storage devices with data encoded at the nanoscale.

Beyond these applications, new insight into the physics of highly localized wave fields and the propagation of light on subwavelength scales may be achieved.

References: Carney and Schotland et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2004, 2005)

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