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The x-ray standing wave technique has been used to characterize a multilayer mirror modulated by surface acoustic waves. Upon sinusoidal modulation of a multilayer by surface acoustic waves, fields of x-ray standing waves are found to form around the Bragg conditions and at the angular positions of the rocking curve diffraction satellites. It is shown that the angular position of the diffraction peaks in the rocking curve and the amplitude of x-ray standing waves are determined by the wavelength and the amplitude of the surface acoustic waves, respectively.© 1999 American Institute of Physics.