Anisotropic effects in surface acoustic wave propagation from a point source in a crystal

  • A. A. MaznevEmail author
  • A. M. Lomonosov
  • P. Hess
  • Al A. Kolomenskii


Strong anisotropic effects in the propagation of surface acoustic waves (SAWs) from a point-like source are studied experimentally and theoretically. Nanosecond SAW pulses are generated by focused laser pulses and detected with a cw probe laser beam at a large distance from the source compared to the SAW wavelength, which allows us to resolve fine intricate features in SAW wavefronts. In our theoretical model, we represent the laser excitation by a localized impulsive force acting on the sample surface and calculate the far-field surface response of an elastically anisotropic solid to such a force. The model simulates the measured SAW waveforms very well and accounts for all experimentally observed features. Using the data obtained for the (111) and (001) surfaces of GaAs, we describe a variety of effects encountered in the SAW propagation from a point source in crystals. The most interesting phenomenon is the existence of cuspidal structures in SAW wavefronts resulting in multiple SAW arrivals for certain ranges of the observation angle. Cuspidal edges correspond to the “phonon focusing” directions yielding sharp peaks in the SAW amplitude. A finite SAW wavelength results in “internal diffraction” whereby the SAW wavefront spreads beyond the group velocity cusps. Degeneration of a SAW into a transverse bulk wave is another strong effect influencing the anisotropy of the SAW amplitude and making whole sections of the SAW wavefront including some phonon focusing directions unobservable in the experiment. The propagation of a leaky SAW mode (pseudo-SAW) is affected by a specific additional effect i.e. anisotropic attenuation. We also demonstrate that many of the discussed features are reproduced in “powder patterns”, a simple technique developed by us earlier for visualization of SAW amplitude anisotropy.


GaAs Surface Acoustic Wave Anisotropic Effect Bulk Wave Impulsive Force 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Maznev
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. M. Lomonosov
    • 2
  • P. Hess
    • 2
  • Al A. Kolomenskii
    • 3
  1. 1.Philips Advanced Metrology SystemsNatickUSA
  2. 2.Institut of Physical ChemistryUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsTexas A&M UniversityUSA

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