We present a near-field optical technique which makes use of the strongly enhanced optical field at a laser-illuminated metal tip. The enhanced field is used to locally excite the sample under investigation by multiphoton absorption. An optical scan image with spatial resolutions down to 20 nm is established by detecting the emitted fluorescence. The principle of the method is described and experimental results are demonstrated for samples of J-aggregates of PIC dye molecules. Ongoing experiments on nanocomposite, Er3+-doped oxyfluoride glass-ceramics are discussed.
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