Fourier analysis near-field polarimetry for measurement of local optical properties of thin films. Academic Article uri icon


  • We present measurements of the local diattenuation and retardance of thin-film specimens by using techniques that combine near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) and a novel polarization-modulation (PM) polarimetry utilizing Fourier analysis of the detected intensity signal. Generally, quantitative near-field polarimetry is hampered by the optical anisotropy of NSOM probes. For example, widely used aluminum-coated pulled-fiber aperture probes typically exhibit a diattenuation near 10%. Our analysis of aperture diattenuation demonstrates that the usual techniques for nulling a PM polarimeter result in a nonzero residual probe retardance in the presence of a diattenuating tip. However, we show that both diattenuation and retardance of the sample can be determined if the corresponding tip properties are explicitly measured and accounted for in the data. In addition, in thin films (<100 nm thick), where the sample retardance and diattenuation are often small, we show how to determine these polarimetric quantities without requiring alignment of the fast and diattenuating axes, which is a more general case than has been previously discussed. We demonstrate our techniques by using two types of polymer-film specimens: ultrahigh molecular weight block copolymers (recently noted for their photonic activity) and isotactic polystyrene spherulites. Finally, we discuss how changes in the tip diattenuation during data collection can limit the accuracy of near-field polarimetry and what steps can be taken to improve these techniques.

published proceedings

  • Appl Opt

author list (cited authors)

  • Goldner, L. S., Fasolka, M. J., Nougier, S., Nguyen, H., Bryant, G. W., Hwang, J., ... Thomas, E. L.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Goldner, Lori S||Fasolka, Michael J||Nougier, Sophie||Nguyen, Hoang-Phi||Bryant, Garnett W||Hwang, Jeeseong||Weston, Kenneth D||Beers, Kathryn L||Urbas, Augustine||Thomas, Edwin L

publication date

  • July 2003