Laser-Generated Ultrasonic Beams
Now, it is well known that when the radiation from a high-power laser (a Q-switched laser) is focused onto a specimen, very large stresses are generated within the specimen primarily by thermo-elastic means as well as others. Generally, in this focused configuration, damage results. 11 Damage 11 is a bad word in the context of this workshop, so consequently we were concerned with harnessing this potential for lasers to generate large stress waves and thereby produce a stress wave of a more useful nature. In particular, we wanted to generate plane compressive stress pulses and sinusoidal wave trains to be used in subsequent wave propagation experiments from a nondestructive point of view. These waves may be used wherever a compressive stress pulse or a sinusoidal wave train with a very large amplitude might be needed. In particular, they may be used for flaw detection through materials that might be very dissipative where signals from piezoelectric crystals might not get through.