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This article describes the polarization properties of light emitted by a bent optical fiber probe which is used for scanning near-field optical microscopy operated in atomic force mode (SNOM/AFM). SNOM/AFM can be applied to the observation of magnetic domains by imaging polarization contrast in transmission mode. A bent optical fiber probe with a subwavelength aperture is vibrated vertically as a cantilever for atomic force microscopy. Plane polarized light with an extinction ratio of better than 70:1 was emitted by the aperture by controlling the polarization state of incident light to the probe. A particular transverse polarization component of light transmitting a sample is selected by a polarization analyzer and detected. We obtained clear polarization contrast images of 0.7 μm length bits written with a conventional method using a focused laser beam on a bismuth-substituted dysprosium-iron-garnet film. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.