Nonlinear spectroscopy in the near-field: Time resolved spectroscopy and subwavelength resolution non-invasive imaging

Mahesh Namboodiri, Tahirzeb Khan, Khadga Karki, Mehdi Mohammad Kazemi, Sidhant Bom, Günter Flachenecker, Vinu Namboodiri, Arnulf Materny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The combination of near-field microscopy along with nonlinear optical spectroscopic techniques is presented here. The scanning near-field imaging technique can be integrated with nonlinear spectroscopic techniques to improve spatial and axial resolution of the images. Additionally, ultrafast dynamics can be probed down to nano-scale dimension. The review shows some examples for this combination, which resulted in an exciton map and vibrational contrast images with subwavelength resolution. Results of two-color femtosecond time-resolved pump-probe experiments using scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) on thin films of the organic semiconductor 3,4,9,10 Perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA) are presented. While nonlinear Raman techniques have been used to obtain highly resolved images in combination with near-field microscopy, the use of femtosecond laser pulses in electronic resonance still constitutes a big challenge. Here, we present our first results on coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (fs-CARS) with femtosecond laser pulses detected in the near-field using SNOM. We demonstrate that highly spatially resolved images can be obtained from poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) nano-structures where the fs-CARS process was in resonance with the P3HT absorption and with characteristic P3HT vibrational modes without destruction of the samples. Sub-diffraction limited lateral resolution is achieved. Especially the height resolution clearly surpasses that obtained with standard microCARS. These results will be the basis for future investigations of mode-selective dynamics in the near-field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy
  • Nonlinear optical spectroscopy
  • Organic semiconductor nanostructures
  • Scanning near-field optical microscopy
  • Surface enhanced coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering
  • Transient absorption spectroscopy


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