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  • Review Article
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Near-field optics: from subwavelength illumination to nanometric shadowing

Abstract

Near-field optics uniquely addresses problems of x, y and z resolution by spatially confining the effect of a light source to nanometric domains. The problems in using far-field optics (conventional optical imaging through a lens) to achieve nanometric spatial resolution are formidable. Near-field optics serves a bridging role in biology between optical imaging and scanned probe microscopy. The integration of near-field and scanned probe imaging with far-field optics thus holds promise for solving the so-called inverse problem of optical imaging.

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Figure 1: An overview of microscopic imaging.
Figure 2: A comparison of optical imaging approaches to reduce out-of-focus light and diffraction-induced reduction in resolution.
Figure 3: A flowering of probes and modes.
Figure 4: Images of yeast obtained in three modes of operation.
Figure 5: Neuronal calcium effusion with caffeine excitation.
Figure 6: Shadow NSOM results.
Figure 7: Instrumentation of SPM and NSOM systems.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Menachem Segal for the use of his confocal microscope and for supplying a neuronal cell line, and The Horowitz Foundation, Israel Ministry of Science and Israel Science Foundation for their support.

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Correspondence to Aaron Lewis.

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Competing interests

A.L. is founder of Nanonics Imaging Ltd., a supplier of near-field optical and scanned probe microscopes.

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Lewis, A., Taha, H., Strinkovski, A. et al. Near-field optics: from subwavelength illumination to nanometric shadowing. Nat Biotechnol 21, 1378–1386 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt898

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