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We demonstrate the feasibility of employing near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) imaging to simultaneously obtain both the eigenfield distribution and the band-structure information of a photonic crystal. We introduce the NSOM measurement configuration required and simulate the imaging process, with both the tip and the sample included, using three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain calculations. Both the field-pattern and the frequency–wave-vector relations of photonic crystal eigenmodes are revealed by analyzing simulated images. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.