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Near-field optical performance is greatly improved using our proposed near-field structure, in which a metal scatterer formed in an aperture enhances localized surface plasmon (LSP) excitation and functions as an alternative near-field light source. Based on the design through a finite-difference time-domain method, the scatterer-formed aperture is fabricated with an electron beam technique, and its near-field optical distribution is observed using a scanning near-field optical microscope. The scatterer-formed aperture enhances the near-field optical energy due to LSP excitation, thereby realizing a significant and simultaneous improvement in throughput and spatial resolution. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.