A far-field optical microscope capable of reaching nanometer-scale resolution using the in-plane image magnification by surface plasmon polaritons is presented. The microscope utilizes a microscopy technique based on the optical properties of a metal-dielectric interface that may, in principle, provide extremely large values of the effective refractive index n.sub.eff up to 10.sup.2-10.sup.3 as seen by the surface plasmons. Thus, the theoretical diffraction limit on resolution becomes .lamda./2n.sub.eff, and falls into the nanometer-scale range. The experimental realization of the microscope has demonstrated the optical resolution better than 50 nm for 502 nm illumination wavelength.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office DescriptionPTO
Inventor(s) Christopher Davis
, Igor Smolyaninov