Dark-field microscopy is widely used to image micro/nano particles or characterize their optical response (scattering spectrum). If laser excitation is incorporated into the microscope, the microscope can further probe chemical (molecular) properties of these objects through Raman scattering. However, when the size of the particles is comparable to or smaller than the characteristic sizes of the laser beam, the conventional setup using on-axis excitation usually suffers from undesired background signals produced by illuminated substrates below the target particles. Therefore, a crescent laser beam possessing a stable shape along the propagation direction is generated by a pair of shifted axicons and then integrated into a dark-field microscope for large oblique angle (i.e., off-axis) excitation. Under this excitation setup, the contrast between Raman and background fluorescence spectra is enhanced by a factor of 4 for a 1 μm polystyrene particle sitting on a glass slide, compared to the conventional excitation configuration. This off-axis excitation based on the crescent beam integrates dark-field imaging with Raman spectroscopy and improves Raman characterization of micro/nano particles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics