The SNOM (Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy) allows to reach a spatial resolution well below the wavelength of the light used. Indeed, thanks to the "near-field" illumination (when the distance between the object and the source is much less than the wavelength) it becomes possible to avoid the diffraction inherent to every optical system. Measurement of the evanescent field at the back side of a total-reflection interface allows obtaining a SNOM image with a resolution well below one micrometer.
Clusters consists in a set of several up to million atoms in condensed phase with nanometric finite size. The investigation of their properties as the function of their increasing size is sometimes presented as one way to build a macroscopic condensed world from a gas. This often appears to be too simplistic, because the static and dynamic behavior of clusters has often no equivalence at the macroscopic scale, as they are controlled by their high specific surface and their finite size. These concerns the physical chemistry of the mesoscopic world, as illustrated by the recent experimental study driven by the "Reaction dynamics" group of DRECAM/SPAM-Laboratoire Francis Perrin in collaboration with a theoretician team from Paris VI University.