Field Scanning Optical
Microscopy (NSOM/SNOM) is a microscopic technique for nanostructure investigation that breaks the
far field resolution limit by exploiting the properties of evanescent waves. This is done by placing
the detector very close (<< ?) To the specimen surface. This allows for
the surface inspection with high spatial, spectral and temporal resolving power. With this technique, the resolution of the image is limited by the size of
the detector aperture and not by the wavelength
of the illuminating light. As in optical
microscopy, the contrast mechanism can be easily adapted to study different
properties, such as refractive index, chemical structure and local stress.
Dynamic properties can also be studied at a sub-wavelength
scale using this technique.