Tip-enhanced Raman scattering microscope TERSsense


Invention and commercialization of TERS

Galileo Galilei denied Geocentric model and was confined by the Curia. Isaac Newton preached the idea of universal gravitation which identified that the Sun has been predominating the movement of the Earth from the distance of 150 million km. It is natural for not believing the fact that the rise and fall of tides is controlled by the moon. However, science is first born when it is contradicting common knowledge and authority.

“Diffraction” is one of the basics of optics, which is described in every textbooks. Even using the world-best objective lens, light would diffract and substance less than diffracted light's wavelength (500 nanometers) in size cannot be seen. In October 1992, I came up with a theory that denied this common sense.

Irradiate the tip of the metal needle which is smaller than wavelength, a light spot smaller than wavelength would be formed and if we scan it over the sample surface…… optical microscope with nanometer resolution would be possible. With this idea in my mind, I got straight to polish the tip of a dress pin in my laboratory manually and place the sharpened needle near the totally reflecting prism surface. The nano light spot became luminous and an ultra‐high resolution microscope was completed at that moment. I obtained a patent right away and presented it at an international conference in the following year. It did not attract a great deal of attention during that time.

It was announced at an academic conference as an application of Raman scattering microscope in 1999. A few years later, a TERS microscope boom has broken out. We have presented new principles such as nonlinear optical spectroscopy and nano applied pressure, simultaneously with applied research related to observation of nanomaterials.

At that time, the operation of TERS required an advanced level of technology. It was not highly reproducible as well. Without solving these problems, TERS microscope cannot be a practical instrument for researchers, technicians and users of nano science and technology. We have been working on developing instrument that can be used by all general users in recent years. 20 years has passed since the initial presentation, we are now able to carry out technology transfer. We consider it as a revolutionary technology since it took 50 years from the model formulated by Copernicus to Galileo.

Distinguished professor of Osaka University
Satoshi Kawata

Major publications of TERS from Kawata lab.

"Tip-enhanced nano-Raman analytical imaging of locally induced strain distribution in carbon nanotubes"NEW
Taka-Aki Yano, Taro Ichimura, Shota Kuwahara, Fekhra H’Dhili, Kazumasa Uetsuki, Yoshito Okuno, Prabhat Verma, Satoshi Kawata
NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | vol4 | October 2013

"Pressure-assisted tip-enhanced Raman imaging at a resolution of a few nanometres"
Taka-Aki Yano, Prabhat Verma, Yuika Saito, Taro Ichimura, Satoshi Kawata

"Plasmonics for near-field nano-imaging and superlensing"
Satoshi Kawata, Yasushi Inouye, Prabhat Verma

"Subnanometric Near-Field Raman Investigation in the Vicinity of a Metallic Nanostructure"
Taro Ichimura, Shintaro Fujii, Prabhat Verma, Takaaki Yano, Yasushi Inouye, Satoshi Kawata

"Tip-Enhanced Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering for Vibrational Nanoimaging"
Taro Ichimura, Norihiko Hayazawa, Mamoru Hashimoto, Yasushi Inouye, Satoshi Kawata