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Optical microscopy with spatial resolution below the diffraction limit is at present attracting extensive attentions. Further advancement of the near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), a practical super-resolution microscopy, is mainly limited by the low transmission of optical power through the nano-meter apex. This work shows that lightwave can be efficiently delivered to a sub-100 nm apex inside a tapered metallic guiding structure. The enhanced light delivery, about 5-fold, is made possible with an adaptive optimization of the transmission via a spatial light phase-modulator. Numerical simulation shows the mechanism for the efficient light delivery to be the selective excitation of predominantly the lowest-order transverse component of standing wavevector with proper input wavefront modulation, hence favoring the transmission of lightwave in the longitudinal direction. The demonstration of such efficient focusing, to about full-width at half-maximum of a quarter wavelength, has a direct and immediate application in the improvement of the existing NSOMs.


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