The OPT Lab is investigating the interaction of light with structures where the important length scale is from a few hundred nanometers down to just a few nanometers. The study of nano-optics requires knowledge from various areas: theoretical studies are needed to predict and understand the behavior of light in such environments, highly sensitive and precise equipment has to be designed and built to test the theoretical predictions, and cutting-edge technologies are required for the fabrication of the tiny structures used for this research. The present research fields include near-field microscopy (SNOM), photonic crystals, engineered local fields, nanoparticles and optical memory.
Near-field methods can overcome the fundamental diffraction limit of the lateral resolution in optical microscopy. One way of detecting the near-field is by making use of a scanning probe using a nanoscale tip to collect the optical signal. The OPT Lab has developed a Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope (SNOM) to measure amplitude, phase and polarization properties of the electromagnetic field, using multi-heterodyne detection. The goal is to improve the basic understanding of near-field phenomena. The experimental investigations are supported by a strong effort in the modeling of light propagation through nanoscale structures.