Structured laser light has already opened up various different applications: it allows for precise material machining, trapping, manipulating or defined the movement of small particles or cell compartments, as well as increasing the bandwidth for next-generation intelligent computing.
However, these nano-fields itself could not be measured yet, since components are formed by tight focusing which is invisible for typical measurement techniques. Up to now, this lack of appropriate metrological methods has impeded the breakthrough of nano-structured light landscapes as a tool for material machining, optical tweezers, or high-resolution imaging but we’ve just begun to change it. Read on to find out more about the new months that allow doe detecting these otherwise invisible properties.
A team around physicist Prof. Dr. Cornelia Denz of the Institute of Applied Physics and chemist Prof. Dr. Bart Jan Ravoo of the Center for Soft Nanoscience at the University of Münster (Germany) successfully developed a nano-tomographic technique which is able to detect the typically invisible properties of nano-structured fields in the focus of a lens – without requiring any complex analysis algorithms or data post-processing.
Paving the way to pioneering applications
For this purpose, the team combined their knowledge in the field of nano-optics and organic chemistry to realize an approach based on a monolayer of organic molecules. This monolayer is placed in the focused light field and replies to this illumination by fluorescence, embedding all information about the invisible properties.
Opening one door at a time
By the detection of this reply, the distinct identity of the nano-field by a single, fast and straightforward camera image is enabled. The study that has been published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that this approach finally opens the till now unexploited potential of these nano-structured light landscapes for many more applications.