Near-field optical patterning on azo-hybrid sol–gel films

Landraud, N.; Peretti, J.; Chaput, F.; Lampel, G.; Boilot, J.-P.; Lahlil, K.; Safarov, V. I.
December 2001
Applied Physics Letters;12/31/2001, Vol. 79 Issue 27, p4562
Academic Journal
We report on the near-field optical patterning of photochromic sol–gel films with subwavelength resolution. The sample containing functionalized azobenzene species is locally illuminated in the visible absorption band of these photochromes through the aperture of a metallized tapered optical fiber. The surface topography imaged by in situ shear-force microscopy reveals that, due to repeated photoisomerization cycles of the azobenzene molecules, photoinduced matter migration occurs under the tip leading to the formation of a surface relief. The shape of this structure is characteristic of the electromagnetic field distribution and strongly depends on the tip-to-sample distance. In near-field illumination conditions, protrusions of lateral dimension as small as 60 nm (approx. λ/10) are currently produced. When repeating this process, compact arrays of nanodots are optically inscribed. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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