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Near-field scanning optical microscopy of single molecules by femtosecond two-photon excitation

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Abstract

We present a demonstration of near-field scanning optical microscopy of single molecules based on ultrafast two-photon-induced fluorescence. Measurements were performed by use of 100-fs pulses at 800 nm from a Ti:sapphire laser to excite the two-photon transition in Rhodamine B molecules. Although near-field probes are normally metal coated to achieve superresolution, we used uncoated tips to achieve sufficiently high optical powers to generate acceptable fluorescence emission rates. Images of single molecules demonstrate a resolution of 175 nm <λ/4 on a topographically smooth surface, which surpasses the apparent λ/2 resolution limit for uncoated tips operating in the linear response regime.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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