TERS provides similar chemical information to conventional far-field Raman spectroscopy. Typically, a Raman spectrum is a distinct chemical fingerprint based on vibrational characteristics of a particular molecule or material and can be used to quickly identify the material or differentiate it from others.
Thus, TERS provides information about:
While the availability of these contrast mechanisms on volumes of less than 10nm diameter is of itself most useful, the truly unique power of TERS is realised by combination with Scanning Probe Microscopy, which synchronises the motion of the active tip with respect to the surface with subnanometre precision enabling the generation of images, where each pixel in the image is represented both by the point physical property recorded but also by a complete spectrum representing the local chemical information. A single such “hyperspectral” image may contain tens of thousands of spectra, in pixel-to-pixel registration with the SPM image. These images show the distribution of individual chemical components, phases, variation in crystallinity or defects imaging down to the nanoscale.