Colloquia & Guest Speakers

IR and THz nanospectroscopy – An emerging analytical tool for science and technology

Dr. Rainer Hillenbrand, Nanogune

Monday, November 27, 2017
3 p.m.

Goergen 101

Rainer Hillenbrand


With the development of scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) [1], the analytical power of visible, IR and THz imaging has been brought to the nanometer scale. The spatial resolution of about 10 - 20 nm opens a new era for modern nano-analytical applications. We demonstrated chemical identification [2-4], free-carrier profiling [5] and mapping of plasmon polaritons in 2D materials such as graphene [6-8]. s-SNOM is based on elastic light scattering from atomic force microscope tips. Acting as an optical antenna, the tips convert the illuminating light into strongly concentrated near fields at the tip apex (nanofocus), which provides a means for localized excitation of molecule vibrations, plasmons or phonons in the sample surface. Recording the tip-scattered IR and THz radiation as a function of sample position yields nanoscale resolved images. Using broadband IR illumination and Fourier-transform spectroscopy of the tip-scattered light (nano-FTIR spectroscopy), IR spectra and IR hyperspectral images with 20 nm spatial resolution can be acquired. In this talk, our recent instrumental advances and applications in materials sciences and nanophotonics will be discussed.


Rainer Hillenbrand is Ikerbasque Research Professor and Nanooptics Group Leader at the nanoscience research center CIC nanoGUNE in San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain), and a Joint Professor at the University of the Basque Country. He is also co-founder of the company neaspec GmbH (Martinsried, Germany), which develops and manufactures near-field optical microscopes. From 1998 to 2007 he worked at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biochemie (Martinsried, Germany), where he led the Nano-Photonics Research Group from 2003 to 2007. He obtained his PhD degree in physics from the Technical University of Munich in 2001. Hillenbrand’s research activities include the development of optical near-field nanoscopy and infrared nanospectroscopy, and its applications in nanophotonics, graphene plasmonics, materials and bio sciences. In 2014 he received the Ludwig-Genzel-Price “for the design and development of infrared near-field spectroscopy and the application of the novel spectroscopy method in different fields of natural sciences”.

[1] F. Keilmann, R. Hillenbrand, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A 362, 787 (2004)

[2] F. Huth et al., Nano Lett. 12, 3973 (2012)

[3] I. Amenabar et al., Nat. Commun. 4:2890 doi: 10.1038/ncomms3890 (2013)

[4] I. Amenabar et al., Nat. Commun. 8:14402 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14402 (2017)

[5] J. M. Stiegler, et al., Nano Lett. 10, 1387 (2010)

[6] J. Chen et al., Nature, 487, 77 (2012)

[7] A. Y. Nikitin et al., Nat. Photon. 10, 239 (2016)

[8] P. Alonso-González et al., Nat. Nanotechnol. 12, 31 (2017)

Location:  Goergen 101

Refreshments will be served.