Near‐field photodetection optical microscopy (NPOM) is a fundamentally new approach to near‐field optical microscopy. This scanning probe technique uses a nanometer‐scale photodiode detector which absorbs optical power directly as it is scanned in the near field of an illuminated sample surface. We have applied NPOM to measure the visible absorption spectrum of dye molecules embedded in a single 300 nm polystyrene sphere. The near‐field absorption spectrum is obtained by measuring the NPOM probe photocurrent while the wavelength of the illumination pump beam is scanned from 450 to 800 nm. Peaks are identified at 567, 608, and 657 nm in the near‐field spectrum of the single‐dyed polystyrene sphere. These peak positions are in good agreement with far‐field absorption measurements performed on many dyed polystyrene spheres.

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