31.07.2020 •

Super-Resolution Microscopy by Movable Thin Films with Embedded Microspheres

Microsphere-assisted imaging has emerged as a  simple  technique to obtain optical super-resolution. This work addresses the methodology of the resolution measurements and the limited field-of-view provided by each sphere. It is suggested that a standard method of resolution analysis in far-field microscopy based  on convolution with the point-spread function can be extended into the super-resolution area. This provides a unified approach to resolution measurements. To develop surface scanning functionality, high-index barium titanate glass microspheres were embedded in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) thin films. It is shown that such films adhere to nanoplasmonic structures' surface so that the tips of embedded spheres experience the objects' optical near-fields.
Based on rigorous criteria, a resolution of approximately λ/6 – λ/7 (where λ is the illumination wavelength) is demonstrated for arrays of gold (Au) dimers and bowties. Such films can be translated along the surface of investigated samples after liquid lubrication. It is shown that after lubrication, the resolution is diffraction-limited; however, the super-resolution gradually recovers as the lubricant evaporates. It is shown that such films adhere to nanoplasmonic structures' surface so that the tips of embedded spheres experience the objects' optical near-fields. Based on rigorous criteria, a resolution of approximately λ/6 – λ/7 (where λ is the illumination wavelength) is demonstrated for arrays of gold (Au) dimers and bowties. Such films can be translated along the surface of investigated samples after liquid lubrication. It is shown that after lubrication, the resolution is diffraction-limited; however, the super-resolution gradually recovers as the lubricant evaporates.

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