Optical generation and characterization of acoustic waves in thin films: Fundamentals and applications

John A. Rogers, Alex A. Maznev, Matthew J. Banet, Keith A. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Scopus citations


The mechanical and acoustic properties of thin films and multilayer assemblies are important both for technological applications of these materials and for basic scientific studies of their physical behavior. Techniques that use optical methods to monitor acoustic waves stimulated in thin films with short pulsed lasers are useful for accurately and nondestructively characterizing the high frequency acoustic physics of these systems. This review briefly summarizes some of these techniques and focuses on a method known as impulsive stimulated thermal scattering or transient grating photoacoustics. It describes the most advanced experimental techniques for performing this measurement and outlines its application to the study of acoustic waveguide modes in a variety of thin films. These measurements, coupled with models for the physics of the modes, can be used to determine intrinsic mechanical properties of materials and structures that occur, for example, in microelectronics and high-frequency acoustic filters. This article summarizes a selected set of existing applications and concludes with an overview of future directions that include studies of the acoustics of complex microstructures such as microfluidic networks and synthetic phononic crystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-157
Number of pages41
JournalAnnual Review of Materials Science
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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