> Kik Group College of Optics and Photonics UCF
The control electronics for the Near-field Scanning Optical Microscope


The study of nanophotonic structures requires an array of dedicated equipment, including various light sources, detectors, electronics, nanopositioning equipment, software, and more. This section shows the main tools in use in our NanoPhotonics Characterization Lab.

Students in the group actively fabricate nanophotonic structures using CREOL's own NanoPhotonics Fabrication Facility. For an impression of the tools that the group uses, have a look at the cleanroom photo gallery.

Witec Near-field Scanning Optical Microscope

A core component of the NanoPhotonics Characterization lab is the Witec AlphaSNOM, a combined Near-field Scanning Optical Microscope (NSOM), Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), and Confocal Microscope. All three techniques are indispensable in the investigation of nanophotonic structures.

- The AFM mode allows us to map out the topography of a sample with nanometer resolution, enabling the visualization of the structures that make up a nanophotonic integrated circuit.
- NSOM scans can be performed during AFM scanning, providing information about the optical properties (emission, absorption) of a sample with sub-diffraction limit resolution (typically 50-100 nm). The near-field optical probes also allow us to excite samples in a <100 nm spot, which is necessary for example for the local excitation of surface plasmons.
- Confocal microscopy can be used to collect light from a diffraction limited three-dimensional volume while rejecting light emitted or scattered outside that volume. This is an indispensable way to reduce any background light intensity in our experiments.

For more details on the quite extraordinary specifications of this piece of equipment, please visit the manufacturers product page.

Woollam M2000 Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

The M2000 High-Speed Scanning Variable Angle Spectroscopic Ellipsometer is a thin film and multilayer analysis tool that enables the rapid determination of linear optical properties (refractive index, absorption coefficient, depolarization factors, anisotropy) in a wide wavelength range spanning the UV, VIS, and NIR. The system, manufactured by J. A. Woollam is equipped with custom focusing optics that enable a measurement spot size as small as 100x100 um2. Array based detectors enable data collection across the full spectral range in under 5 seconds. The system features automated mapping, useful for example for the detection of film thickness gradients, semiconductor bandgap variation across a deposited layer, thickness homogeneity of a planar waveguide, etc. For more information, see the M2000 system specifications and a list of sample requirements.