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Optical generation and detection of shock waves in sapphire at room temperature

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2 Author(s)
van Capel, P.J.S. ; Debye Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands ; Dijkhuis, J.I.

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Using pump-probe spectroscopy, we study the propagation of laser-excited longitudinal, high-amplitude, coherent picosecond acoustic phonon wave packets in thin sapphire slabs at room temperature. We observe significant stretching of the wave packet up to several tens of picoseconds, accompanied by strong steepening of the wave fronts. The results demonstrate the supersonic and subsonic nature of propagation in viscous nonlinear media and more specifically the presence of acoustic frequencies in the wave packet as high as 500 GHz. All experimental data are in excellent agreement with simulations based on Burgers’ equation.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:88 ,  Issue: 15 )