Physical Review Letters

Near-field optical spectroscopy of individual molecules in solids

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Near-field single-molecule spectroscopy was performed on a crystal of pentacene-doped p-terphenyl using an Al-coated optical fiber tip with 60 nm diam aperture as a near-field light source. Individual molecules located ≅400 nm from the tip had linewidths of 10-20 MHz at 1.8 K. The background fluorescence provided a useful distance-sensing signal, as it increased exponentially during approach with a characteristic length of ≅100 nm. Single molecules closest to the tip were identified by Stark shifts. © 1994 The American Physical Society.