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Laser ultrasound was used to determine dispersion curves of surface acoustic waves on a Si (001) surface covered by AlScN films with a scandium content between 0 and 41%. By including off-symmetry directions for wavevectors, all five independent elastic constants of the film were extracted from the measurements. Results for their dependence on the Sc content are presented and compared to corresponding data in the literature, obtained by alternative experimental methods or by ab-initio calculations.

Anisotropy has been found to play an important role for the existence of edge-localized acoustic modes as well as for nonlinear effects in rectangular edges. For a certain propagation geometry in silicon, the effective second-order nonlinearity for wedge waves was determined numerically from second-order and third-order elastic moduli and compared with the nonlinearity for Rayleigh waves propagating in the direction of the apex on one of the two surfaces forming the edge. In the presence of weak dispersion resulting from modifications of the wedge tip or coating of the adjacent surfaces, solitary pulses are predicted to exist and their shape was calculated.

A laser-operated, angle-tunable transducer was employed to excite selectively elastic waves guided along the apex of a solid wedge. The propagation of wedge waves at anisotropic monocrystalline silicon edges with different symmetry properties was studied by optical detection. The reduced symmetry in crystals, as compared to isotropic media, causes a number of new features, such as the existence of supersonic leaky wedge waves, tilted spatial pulse profiles, and other peculiarities of their localization. Experimental and theoretical results are presented for three different types of symmetry configurations: the wedge symmetric about its midplane, the wedge symmetric about the plane normal to its apex line, and the wedge symmetric about one of its faces. The experiments include accurate measurements of the phase velocity and the wave field distribution, providing information on localization and coupling of wedge waves with other waves. Theoretically, the wedge waves were treated by the Laguerre function method, extended to modes that are not localized at the tip of the wedge. This approach allowed an accurate description of the observed localized and leaky wedge waves in anisotropic wedges.

The characteristic features and applications of linear and nonlinear guided elastic waves propagating along surfaces (2D) and wedges (1D) are discussed. Laser-based excitation, detection, or contact-free analysis of these guided waves with pump–probe methods are reviewed. Determination of material parameters by broadband surface acoustic waves (SAWs) and other applications in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) are considered. The realization of nonlinear SAWs in the form of solitary waves and as shock waves, used for the determination of the fracture strength, is described. The unique properties of dispersion-free wedge waves (WWs) propagating along homogeneous wedges and of dispersive wedge waves observed in the presence of wedge modifications such as tip truncation or coatings are outlined. Theoretical and experimental results on nonlinear wedge waves in isotropic and anisotropic solids are presented.

In anisotropic media, the existence of leaky surface acoustic waves is a well-known phenomenon. Very recently, their analogs at the apex of an elastic silicon wedge have been found in experiments using laser-ultrasonics. In addition to a wedge-wave (WW) pulse with low speed, a pseudo-wedge wave (p-WW) pulse was found with a velocity higher than the velocity of shear bulk waves, propagating in the same direction. With a probe-beam-deflection technique, the propagation of the WW pulses was monitored on one of the faces of the wedge at variable distance from the apex. In this way, their depth structure and the leakage of the p-WW could be visualized directly. Calculations were carried out using a method based on a representation of the displacement field in Laguerre functions. This method has been validated by calculating the surface density of states in anisotropic media and comparing the results with those obtained from the surface Green's tensor. The approach has then been extended to the continuum of acoustic modes in infinite wedges with fixed wave-vector along the apex. These calculations confirmed the measured speeds of the WW and p-WW pulses.

While most ultrafast time-resolved optical pump-probe experiments in magnetic materials reveal the spatially homogeneous magnetization dynamics of ferromagnetic resonance (FMR), here we explore the magneto-elastic generation of GHz-to-THz frequency spin waves (exchange magnons). Using analytical magnon oscillator equations, we apply time-domain and frequency-domain approaches to quantify the results of ultrafast time-resolved optical pump-probe experiments in free-standing ferromagnetic thin films. Simulations show excellent agreement with the experiment, provide acoustic and magnetic (Gilbert) damping constants and highlight the role of symmetry-based selection rules in phonon-magnon interactions. The analysis is extended to hybrid multilayer structures to explore the limits of resonant phonon-magnon interactions up to THz frequencies.

The technique of laser ultrasonics perfectly meets the need for noncontact, noninvasive, nondestructive mechanical probing of nanometer- to millimeter-size samples. However, this technique is limited to the excitation of low-amplitude strains, below the threshold for optical damage of the sample. In the context of strain engineering of materials, alternative optical techniques enabling the excitation of high-amplitude strains in a nondestructive optical regime are needed. We introduce here a nondestructive method for laser-shock wave generation based on additive superposition of multiple laser-excited strain waves. This technique enables strain generation up to mechanical failure of a sample at pump laser fluences below optical ablation or melting thresholds. We demonstrate the ability to generate nonlinear surface acoustic waves (SAWs) in Nb-SrTiO3 substrates, with associated strains in the percent range and pressures up to 3 GPa at 1 kHz repetition rate and close to 10 GPa for several hundred shocks. This study paves the way for the investigation of a host of high-strain SAW-induced phenomena, including phase transitions in conventional and quantum materials, plasticity and a myriad of material failure modes, chemistry and other effects in bulk samples, thin layers, and two-dimensional materials.

We revisit the quantitative analysis of the ultrafast magnetoacoustic experiment in a freestanding nickel thin film by Kim and Bigot [J.-W. Kim and J.-Y. Bigot, Phys. Rev. B 95, 144422 (2017)] by applying our recently proposed approach of magnetic and acoustic eigenmode decomposition. We show that the application of our modeling to the analysis of time-resolved reflectivity measurements allows for the determination of amplitudes and lifetimes of standing perpendicular acoustic phonon resonances with unprecedented accuracy. The acoustic damping is found to scale as ∝ω2 for frequencies up to 80 GHz, and the peak amplitudes reach 10−3. The experimentally measured magnetization dynamics for different orientations of an external magnetic field agrees well with numerical solutions of magnetoelastically driven magnon harmonic oscillators. Symmetry-based selection rules for magnon-phonon interactions predicted by our modeling approach allow for the unambiguous discrimination between spatially uniform and nonuniform modes, as confirmed by comparing the resonantly enhanced magnetoelastic dynamics simultaneously measured on opposite sides of the film. Moreover, the separation of timescales for (early) rising and (late) decreasing precession amplitudes provide access to magnetic (Gilbert) and acoustic damping parameters in a single measurement.

Femtosecond (fs) time-resolved magneto-optics is applied to investigate laser-excited ultrafast dynamics of one-dimensional nickel gratings on fused silica and silicon substrates for a wide range of periodicities Λ = 400–1500 nm. Multiple surface acoustic modes with frequencies up to a few tens of GHz are generated. Nanoscale acoustic wavelengths Λ/n have been identified as nth-spatial harmonics of Rayleigh surface acoustic wave (SAW) and surface skimming longitudinal wave (SSLW), with acoustic frequencies and lifetimes being in agreement with theoretical calculations. Resonant magnetoelastic excitation of the ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) by SAW’s third spatial harmonic, and, most interestingly fingerprints of the parametric resonance at 1/2 SAW frequency have been observed. Numerical solutions of Landau–Lifshitz–Gilbert (LLG) equation magnetoelastically driven by complex polychromatic acoustic fields quantitatively reproduce all resonances at once. Thus, our results provide a solid experimental and theoretical base for a quantitative understanding of ultrafast fs-laser-driven magnetoacoustics and tailoring the magnetic-grating-based metasurfaces at the nanoscale.

Surface and interface acoustic waves are two-dimensionally guided waves, as their displacement field is plane-wave like regarding its dependence on the spatial coordinates parallel to the guiding plane, while it decays exponentially along the axis normal to that plane. When propagating at the planar surface or interface of homogeneous media, they are non-dispersive. Another type of non-dispersive acoustic waves which is, however, one-dimensionally guided, has displacement fields localized near the apex of a wedge made of an elastic material. In this short review, their propagation properties are described as well as theoretical and experimental methods which have been used for their analysis. Experimental findings are discussed in comparison with corresponding theoretical work and potential applications of this fascinating type of acoustic waves are presented.

Silicon edges as one-dimensional waveguides for dispersion-free and supersonic leaky wedge waves
(2012)

Acoustic waves guided by the cleaved edge of a Si(111) crystal were studied using a laser-based angle-tunable transducer for selectively launching isolated wedge or surface modes. A supersonic leaky wedge wave and the fundamental wedge wave were observed experimentally and confirmed theoretically. Coupling of the supersonic wave to shear waves is discussed, and its leakage into the surface acoustic wave was observed directly. The velocity and penetration depth of the wedge waves were determined by contact-free optical probing. Thus, a detailed experimental and theoretical study of linear one-dimensional guided modes in silicon is presented.

The existence of acoustic waves with displacements localized at the tip of an isotropic elastic wedge was rigorously proven by Kamotskii, Zavorokhin and Nazarov. This proof, which is based on a variational approach, is extended to rectangular anisotropic wedges. For two high-symmetry configurations of rectangular edges in elastic media with tetragonal symmetry, a criterion is derived that allows identifying the boundary between the regions of existence for wedge modes of even and odd symmetry in regions of parameter space, where even- and odd-symmetry modes do not exist simultaneously. Furthermore, rectangular edges with non-equivalent surfaces are analyzed, and it is shown that at rectangular edges of cubic elastic media with one (110) surface and one (001) surface, a tip-localized guided wave always exists, apart from special cases that are characterized.

Laser pulses focused near the tip of an elastic wedge generate acoustic waves guided at its apex. The shapes of the acoustic wedge wave pulses depend on the energy and the profile of the exciting laser pulse and on the anisotropy of the elastic medium the wedge is made of. Expressions for the acoustic pulse shapes have been derived in terms of the modal displacement fields of wedge waves for laser excitation in the thermo-elastic regime and for excitation via a pressure pulse exerted on the surface. The physical quantity considered is the local inclination of a surface of the wedge, which is measured optically by laser-probe-beam deflection. Experimental results on pulse shapes in the thermo-elastic regime are presented and confirmed by numerical calculations. They pertain to an isotropic sharp-angle wedge with two wedge-wave branches and to a non-reciprocity phenomenon at rectangular silicon edges.

Among the various types of guided acoustic waves, acoustic wedge waves are non-diffractive and non-dispersive. Both properties make them susceptible to nonlinear effects. Investigations have recently been focused on effects of second-order nonlinearity in connection with anisotropy. The current status of these investigations is reviewed in the context of earlier work on nonlinear properties of two-dimensional guided acoustic waves, in particular surface waves. The role of weak dispersion, leading to solitary waves, is also discussed. For anti-symmetric flexural wedge waves propagating in isotropic media or in anisotropic media with reflection symmetry with respect to the wedge’s mid-plane, an evolution equation is derived that accounts for an effective third-order nonlinearity of acoustic wedge waves. For the kernel functions occurring in the nonlinear terms of this equation, expressions in terms of overlap integrals with Laguerre functions are provided, which allow for their quantitative numerical evaluation. First numerical results for the efficiency of third-harmonic generation of flexural wedge waves are presented.

The laser ultrasound (LU) technique has been used to determine dispersion curves for surface acoustic waves (SAW) propagating in AlScN/Al2O3 systems. Polar and non-polar Al0.77Sc0.23N thin films were prepared by magnetron sputter epitaxy on Al2O3 substrates and coated with a metal layer. SAW dispersion curves have been measured for various propagation directions on the surface. This is easily achieved in LU measurements since no additional surface structures need to be fabricated, which would be required if elastic properties are determined with the help of SAW resonators. Variation of the propagation direction allows for efficient use of the system’s anisotropy when extracting information on elastic properties. This helps to overcome the complexity caused by a large number of elastic constants in the film material. An analysis of the sensitivity of the SAW phase velocities (with respect to the elastic moduli and their dependence on SAW propagation direction) reveals that the non-polar AlScN films are particularly well suited for the extraction of elastic film properties. Good agreement is found between experiment and theoretical predictions, validating LU as a non-destructive and fast technique for the determination of elastic constants of piezoelectric thin films.

Nonlinear acoustic waves are considered that have displacements localized at the tip of an elastic wedge. The evolution equation governing their propagation is discussed and compared with its analogues pertaining to nonlinear acoustic surface and bulk waves. Solitary wave solutions of the evolution equation have been determined numerically for the cases of two rectangular edges which may be viewed as generated by splitting a half-space, consisting of crystalline silicon, into two quarter-spaces. For these two geometries, the kernel in the nonlinear terms of the evolution equation has been calculated from the second-order and third-order elastic constants of silicon, and weak dispersion due to tip truncation has been considered. Solitary pulse shapes have been computed and collisions of solitary pulses have been simulated for various relative speeds of the two collision partners. Collision scenarios for the two wedge geometries were found to differ considerably. Special attention is paid to the peculiar interaction of two initially identical solitary pulses.

Surface acoustic waves are propagated toward the edge of an anisotropic elastic medium (a silicon crystal), which supports leaky waves with a high degree of localization at the tip of the edge. At an angle of incidence corresponding to phase matching with this leaky wedge wave, a sharp peak in the reflection coefficient of the surface wave was found. This anomalous reflection is associated with efficient excitation of the leaky wedge wave. In laser ultrasound experiments, surface acoustic wave pulses were excited and their reflection from the edge of the sample and their partial conversion into leaky wedge wave pulses was observed by optical probe-beam deflection. The reflection scenario and the pulse shapes of the surface and wedge-localized guided waves, including the evolution of the acoustic pulse traveling along the edge, have been confirmed in detail by numerical simulations.