Recovery of permittivity and depth from near-field data as a step toward infrared nanotomography

Alexander A. Govyadinov, Stefan Mastel, Federico Golmar, Andrey Chuvilin, P. Scott Carney, Rainer Hillenbrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing complexity of composite materials structured on the nanometer scale requires highly sensitive analytical tools for nanoscale chemical identification, ideally in three dimensions. While infrared near-field microscopy provides high chemical sensitivity and nanoscopic spatial resolution in two dimensions, the quantitative extraction of material properties of three-dimensionally structured samples has not been achieved yet. Here we introduce a method to perform rapid recovery of the thickness and permittivity of simple 3D structures (such as thin films and nanostructures) from near-field measurements, and provide its first experimental demonstration. This is accomplished via a novel nonlinear invertible model of the imaging process, taking advantage of the near-field data recorded at multiple harmonics of the oscillation frequency of the near-field probe. Our work enables quantitative nanoscale-resolved optical studies of thin films, coatings, and functionalization layers, as well as the structural analysis of multiphase materials, among others. It represents a major step toward the further goal of near-field nanotomography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6911-6921
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 22 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • chemical imaging
  • ellipsometry
  • inverse problems
  • nanotomography
  • near-field microscopy
  • s-SNOM
  • thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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