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Analysis Software for Near-Field Optical Microscopes
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The near-field scanning optical microscope can supply information on the shape and electrical properties of surfaces with nanometer resolution. The quantitative interpretation of images is difficult because of the difficulty of electromagnetic field solutions in the near-field limit. We propose to supply software to aid in this analysis. The finite-element programs generate two and three-dimensional near-field scattering solutions in the time and frequency domains. They faithfully replicate free-space boundary conditions through the use of material boundary layers and the distributed source technique. The computational efficiency of the solution method enables sophisticated three- dimensional simulations on standard personal computers. The software packages include extensive post-processing tools and utilities for easy boundary definition. They are equipped with automatic mesh generators that handle arbitrary user-defined geometries. The well-documented programs are designed to be learned quickly so that they will be of immediate use to microscopy researchers.
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