Heating mechanisms in a near-field optical system

Joshua L. Kann, Tom D. Milster, Fred F. Froehlich, Richard W. Ziolkowski, Justin B. Judkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A finite-difference-time-domain and two finite-difference-thermal models are used to study various heating mechanisms in a near-field optical system. It is shown that the dominant mechanism of sample heating occurs from optical power that is transferred from the probe to a metallic thin-film sample. The optical power is absorbed in the sample and converted to heat. The effects of thermal radiation from the probe’s coating and thermal conduction between the probe and the sample are found to be negligible. In a two-dimensional waveguide with TE polarization, most of the optical power is transferred directly from the aperture to the sample. In a two-dimensional waveguide with TM polarization, there is significant optical power transfer between the probe’s aluminum coating and the sample. The power transfer results in a wider thermal distribution with TM polarization than with TE polarization. Using computed temperature distributions in a Co-Pt film, we predict the relative size of thermally written marks in a three-dimensional geometry. The predicted mark size shows a 30% asymmetry that is due to polarization effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5951-5958
Number of pages8
JournalApplied optics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Aug 20 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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