Nanostructures and Optics – Optical microscopes

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A platform is dedicated to optical prospecting and spectral characterization of samples of structured or disordered media in the fields of mineralogy, biomimicry and biomedical research. This place is equipped with three main microscopes, two of which allow the taking of images and film, with the possibility of programming mosaic shots of large samples and 3D reconstruction of non-planar samples. They also work with transmission or reflection lighting, light/dark background and fluorescence.


Keyence VHX-5000 Digital Optical Microscope


This device is equipped with an orientable observation system, a controller and console, two objectives :

  • ulltra-compact high-performance zoom lens with variable optical magnification (20x-200x),
  • dual illumination zoom lens with variable optical magnification (250x-2500x).


Optical Microscope BX61 Olympus


The BX61 is specially designed to work with the Olympus laser-based autofocus unit. With accurate focusing and active tracking, users can speed up routine inspections. Additional parameters such as illumination level, lens selection and aperture adjustment can be set using push buttons on the microscope frame, a keyboard or via the PC. A variety of motorized modules, including attachments and projectors, are available to provide complete flexibility in the configuration of this system. A spectrophotometer can be associated with this microscope for spectral characterization.


Optical microscope BX51 Olympus + spectrophotometer


Microscope with a vertical type frame capable of producing fluorescence illumination by episcopic or diascopic optical pathways. It includes a halogen source, a 300t/mm grating spectrometer connected to an analysis box.


  • Serge Berthier : serge.berthier(at)
  • Willy Daney de Marcillac : willy.marcillac(at)


SNOM (scanning near-field optical microscope)

The Nanostructures and Optics team has recently installed a near-field optical microscope. The near field optical microscopy is based on the concept of local probe. Like the STM (Scanning Tunneling Microscope), some optical information exists and can only be detected in the near field. Through the use of local probes (e.g. fiber tips), near-field optical microscopy makes it possible to collect and study the behavior of light at very sub-wavelength scales. In particular, our team has acquired a know-how on the use of nanostructured tips allowing the exaltation of phenomena at these nanometric scales. This technical improvement allows us to place optical nanostructures in a deterministic way close to quantum emitters and thus to study in a perfect way the coupling between these two elements. To do this, the optical near-field microscope is coupled to a battery of detectors such as APDs (avalanche photo diode), a spectrometer and an ultra-sensitive camera.

Figure 1Operating principle of NSOM microscopy. A near-field tip is placed very close (less than 15 nm) to a sample in order to detect and/or collect the evanescent waves existing only on its surface, thus allowing to obtain sub-wavelength light information from the latter.

Figure 2Examples of nanostructured tip allowing to enhance the optical near-field signal due to their particular electromagnetic properties resulting from their geometries, dimensions and materials.


  • Mathieu Mivelle : mathieu.mivelle(at)