A cryogenic scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope

By: Honghua U. Yang, Erik Hebestreit, Erik E. Josberger, and Markus B. Raschke

Review of Scientific Instruments 84, 023701 (2013)

Scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) provides few nanometer optical spatial resolution and is compatible with nearly any form of linear and nonlinear optical spectroscopy. We have developed a versatile s-SNOM instrument operating under cryogenic and variable temperature (~20-500 K) and compatible with high magnetic fields (up to 7 T). The instrument features independent tip and sample scanning and free-space light delivery with an integrated off-axis parabolic mirror for tip-illumination and signal collection with a numerical aperture of N.A. = 0.45. The optics operate from the UV to THz range allowing for continuous wave, broadband, and ultrafast s-SNOM spectroscopy, including different variants of tip-enhanced spectroscopy. We discuss the instrument design, implementation, and demonstrate its performance with mid-infrared Drude response s-SNOM probing of the domain formation associated with the metal-insulator transitions of VO2 (TMIT ≃ 340 K) and V2O3 (TMIT ≃ 150 K). This instrument enables the study of mesoscopic order and domains of competing quantum phases in correlated electron materials over a wide range of controlled electric and magnetic fields, strain, current, and temperature.