Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Cheng Cen

Committee Co-Chair

Mikel Holcomb

Committee Member

Aldo Romero


The primary objective of this work is to construct a fully functional scattering type Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope (s-SNOM), and to understand the working mechanisms behind it. An s-SNOM is an instrument made up of two separate instruments working in unison. One instrument is a scanning optical microscope focusing light onto a raster scanning sample surface combined with an interferometer set up. The second instrument is an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) operating in noncontact mode. The AFM uses a small probe that interacts with the raster scanning sample surface to map out the topography of the of the sample surface. An s-SNOM uses both of these instruments simultaneously by focusing the light of the optical microscope onto the probe of the AFM. This probe acts as a nano-antenna and confines the light allowing for light-matter interaction to be inferred far below the resolution of the diffraction limit of light. This specific s-SNOM system is unique to others by having a controllable environment. It is high vacuum compatible and variable temperature. In addition, it is efficient at collecting scattered light due to the focusing objective being a partial elliptical mirror which collects 360° of light around the major axis. This s-SNOM system will be used for direct imaging of surface plasmons. Intended works are inducing surface plasmons on InSe thin films, and seeing the enhancement effect of introducing Au nano-rods. Also dielectric properties of materials will be interpreted such as the metal to insulator phase transition of NbO2.