- Journal Article
The nonlinear optical response of a material is a sensitive probe of electronic and structural dynamics under strong light fields. The induced microscopic polarizations are usually detected via their far-field light emission, thus limiting spatial resolution. Several powerful near-field techniques circumvent this limitation by employing local nanoscale scatterers; however, their signal strength scales unfavorably as the probe volume decreases. Here, we demonstrate that time-resolved atomic force microscopy is capable of temporally and spatially resolving the microscopic, electrostatic forces arising from a nonlinear optical polarization in an insulating dielectric driven by femtosecond optical fields. The measured forces can be qualitatively explained by a second-order nonlinear interaction in the sample. The force resulting from this nonlinear interaction has frequency components below the mechanical resonance frequency of the cantilever and is thus detectable by regular atomic force microscopy methods. The capability to measure a nonlinear polarization through its electrostatic force is a powerful means to revisit nonlinear optical effects at the nanoscale, without the need for emitted photons or electrons from the surface. © 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Show more
Journal / seriesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences
Subjectatomic force microscopy; time-resolved; nonlinear optics
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