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Apparent superresolution in near-field optical imaging of periodic gratings

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Abstract

A superresolution phenomenon in images of diffraction gratings obtained with a near-field optical microscope probe positioned at distances of the order of 1 µm from the surface was recently reported [Appl. Opt. 33, 876 (1994)]. This experiment was interpreted in terms of evanescent waves observed in the far field. We show that the effect observed in that experiment is a very well known far-field optical phenomenon called the Talbot effect. The existence of self-imaging Talbot planes for gratings with periods of the order of a few micrometers appears promising for many practical applications.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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