[OPTICAL REVIEW Vol. 13, No. 4 (2006) 242-248]
© 2006 The Optical Society of Japan

The Influence of Defects on the Propagation Light within Polymeric Optical Waveguides Studied by Polarized Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy

Tadashi MITSUI, Kazuaki SAKODA and Giyuu KIDO

Nanomaterials Laboratory, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan

(Received November 15, 2005; Accepted February 16, 2006)

We have developed a polarization-preserving near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) optical fiber probe and with it observed the influence of defects and weak stresses on a propagation light within polymeric optical waveguides. To characterize the influence, we intentionally printed an indentation in the vicinity of the waveguide and then evaluated the resulting influence using polarized guide-collection-mode NSOM images taken around the indentation. When transverse magnetic polarized light enters a waveguide, the light intensity becomes greater on the near side of the indentation than on the far side, as measured by a linearly polarized component perpendicular to the direction of light propagation. The most probable cause of this phenomenon is microdefects generated by the printing of the indentation. The polarized NSOM technique is useful in searching for small defects or stresses within integrated photonic devices.

Key words: near-field scanning optical microscopy, polarization, optical waveguide, defect, stress-strained field, polymer