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We experimentally investigated the dependence of spatial resolution on the shape of a microtip on our photocantilever, in order to improve the spatial resolution of near-field scanning optical microscopy. Two different cone angles of silicon-dioxide microtips were microfabricated by a new fabrication process. The experimental results, which indicate there is a relationship between the spatial resolution and cone angle of the microtip, were interpreted by calculations based on a simple theoretical model. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.