Infrared Nano Optics
The research group of Professor Taubner explores new imaging and spectroscopy techniques using infrared light with high spatial resolution and enhanced sensitivity and further develops them towards their application. The special emphasis is on microscopy in the infrared (IR) spectral range, as it allows for e.g. chemical characterization via specific infrared vibrations of nanocomposite materials.
With IR Scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM), a high spatial resolution in the few 10 nanometer range can be achieved while for 'enhanced IR spectroscopy' we use optically resonant nanostructures (so called “IR antennas”) to improve the sensitivity of infrared microscopy and spectroscopy. These nanostructures offer a locally enhanced near-field, which can be used to “amplify” the spectral signature of molecular absorption bands.
Additionally we work on the exploration of fundamental imaging properties of a new kind of imaging system, the so called “superlens”. Such a system is able to image a large area of a sample at a subwavelength resolution simultaneously, which is not possible with conventional scanning probe methods. By combining infrared near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) with such a superlens, Dr. Taubner was the first to directly visualize the superlensing effect. This subproject addresses a better understanding of the imaging mechanism and the optimization of superlenses. The knowledge gained here shall be transferred to new imaging systems based on metamaterials.