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High-spatial-resolution sub-surface imaging using a laser-based acoustic microscopy technique

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6 Author(s)
Balogun, O. ; Mech. Eng. Dept., Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL, USA ; Cole, G.D. ; Huber, R. ; Chinn, D.
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Scanning acoustic microscopy techniques operating at frequencies in the gigahertz range are suitable for the elastic characterization and interior imaging of solid media with micrometer-scale spatial resolution. Acoustic wave propagation at these frequencies is strongly limited by energy losses, particularly from attenuation in the coupling media used to transmit ultrasound to a specimen, leading to a decrease in the depth in a specimen that can be interrogated. In this work, a laser-based acoustic microscopy technique is presented that uses a pulsed laser source for the generation of broadband acoustic waves and an optical interferometer for detection. The use of a 900-ps microchip pulsed laser facilitates the generation of acoustic waves with frequencies extending up to 1 GHz which allows for the resolution of micrometer-scale features in a specimen. Furthermore, the combination of optical generation and detection approaches eliminates the use of an ultrasonic coupling medium, and allows for elastic characterization and interior imaging at penetration depths on the order of several hundred micrometers. Experimental results illustrating the use of the laser-based acoustic microscopy technique for imaging micrometer-scale subsurface geometrical features in a 70-μm-thick single-crystal silicon wafer with a (100) orientation are presented.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 1 )