A systematic study of the influence of the excitation angle, the light polarization and the coating thickness of commercial SPM tips on the field enhancement in an apertureless scanning near-field optical microscope is presented. A new method to optimize the alignment of the electric field vector along the major tip axis by measuring the resonance frequency was developed. The simulations were performed with a MNPBEM toolbox based on the Boundary Element Method (BEM). The influence of the coating thickness was investigated for the first time. Coatings below 40 nm showed a drastic influence both on the resonance wavelength and the enhancement. A shift to higher angles of incidence for the maximum
enhancement could be observed for greater tip radii.