Electromagnetic interaction between a sub-wavelength particle (the \"probe\") and a material surface (the \"sample\") is studied theoretically. The interaction is shown to be governed by a series of resonances corresponding to surface polariton modes localized near the probe. The resonance parameters depend on the dielectric function and geometry of the probe as well as on the surface reflectivity of the material. Calculation of such resonances is carried out for several types of axisymmetric probes: spherical, spheroidal, and pear-shaped. For spheroids, an efficient numerical method is developed, capable of handling cases of large or strongly momentum-dependent surface reflectivity. Application of the method to highly resonant materials, such as aluminum oxide (by itself or covered with graphene), reveals a rich structure of multi-peak spectra and nonmonotonic approach curves, i.e., the probe-sample distance dependence. These features also strongly depend on the probe shape and optical constants of the model. For less resonant materials such as silicon oxide, the dependence is weak, so that the spheroidal model is reliable. The calculations are done within the quasistatic approximation with radiative damping included perturbatively. (C) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.

}, doi = {10.1063/1.4941343}, author = {Jiang, B.-Y. and Zhang, L. M. and Castro Neto, A. H. and Basov, D. N. and Fogler, M. M.} }