What happens when a quantum dot looks in a mirror?
The 2014 chemistry Nobel Prize recognized important microscopy research that enabled greatly improved spatial resolution. This innovation, resulting in nanometer resolution, was made possible by making the source (the emitter) of the illumination quite small and by moving it quite close to the object being imaged.
This is an illustration of the interference between light from the quantum dot (black sphere) and radiation from the mirror dipole (black sphere on the wire). This interference will slightly distort the perceived location of the diffraction spot as imaged on a black screen at the top. The distortion is different depending on whether the quantum dot dipole is oriented perpendicular (red) or parallel (blue) to the wire surface, a difference that can be visualized by imaging the diffraction spot along different polarizations.
One problem with this approach is that in such proximity, the emitter and object can interact with each other, blurring the resulting image. Now, a new JQI study has shown how to sharpen nanoscale microscopy (nanoscopy) even more by better locating the exact position of the light source.
Traditional microscopy is limited by the diffraction of light around objects. That is, when a light wave from the source strikes the object, the wave will scatter somewhat. This scattering limits the spatial resolution of a conventional microscope to no better than about one-half the wavelength of the light being used. For visible light, diffraction limits the resolution to no be better than a few hundred nanometers.
How then, can microscopy using visible light attain a resolution down to several nanometers? By using tiny light sources that are no larger than a few nanometers in diameter. Examples of these types of light sources are fluorescent molecules, nanoparticles, and quantum dots. The JQI work uses quantum dots which are tiny crystals of a semiconductor material that can emit single photons of light. If such tiny light sources are close enough to the object meant to be mapped or imaged, nanometer-scale features can be resolved. This type of microscopy, called "Super-resolution imaging," surmounts the standard diffraction limit.
JQI fellow Edo Waks and his colleagues have performed nanoscopic mappings of the electromagnetic field profile around silver nano-wires by positioning quantum dots (the emitter) nearby. (Previous work summarized at http://jqi.
They discovered that sub-wavelength imaging suffered from a fundamental problem, namely that an "image dipole" induced in the surface of the nanowire was distorting knowledge of the quantum dot's true position. This uncertainty in the position of the quantum dot translates directly into a distortion of the electromagnetic field measurement of the object.
The distortion results from the fact that an electric charge positioned near a metallic surface will produce just such an electric field as if a ghostly negative charge were located as far beneath the surface as the original charge is above it. This is analogous to the image you see when looking at yourself in a mirror; the mirror object appears to be as far behind the mirror as you are in front. The quantum dot does not have a net electrical charge but it does have a net electrical dipole, a slight displacement of positive and negative charge within the dot.
Thus when the dot approaches the wire, the wire develops an "image" electrical dipole whose emission can interfere with the dot's own emission. Since the measured light from the dot is the substance of the imaging process, the presence of light coming from the "image dipole" can interfere with light coming directly from the dot. This distorts the perceived position of the dot by an amount which is 10 times higher than the expected spatial accuracy of the imaging technique (as if the nanowire were acting as a sort of funhouse mirror).
The JQI experiment successfully measured the image-dipole effect and properly showed that it can be corrected under appropriate circumstances. The resulting work provides a more accurate map of the electromagnetic fields surrounding the nanowire.
The JQI scientists published their results in the journal Nature Communications.
Lead author Chad Ropp (now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley) says that the main goal of the experiment was to produce better super-resolution imaging: "Any time you use a nanoscale emitter to perform super-resolution imaging near a metal or high-dielectric structure image-dipole effects can cause errors. Because these effects can distort the measurement of the nano-emitter's position they are important to consider for any type of super-resolved imaging that performs spatial mapping."
"Historically scientists have assumed negligible errors in the accuracy of super-resolved imaging," says Ropp. "What we are showing here is that there are indeed substantial inaccuracies and we describe a procedure on how to correct for them."
Reference report: "Nanoscale probing of image dipole interactions in a metallic nanostructure," Chad Ropp, Zachary Cummins, Sanghee Nah, John T. Fourkas, Benjamin Shapiro, Edo Waks, Nature Communications, 19 March 2015; Doi:10.1038/ncomms7558 http://www.
Phillip F. Schewe | EurekAlert!
European particle-accelerator community publishes the first industry compendium
26.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP
Subnano lead particles show peculiar decay behavior
26.04.2018 | Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering