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Direct visualization of surface acoustic waves along substrates using smoke particles

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Smoke particles (SPs) are used to directly visualize surface acoustic waves (SAWs) propagating on a 128°-rotated Y-cut X-propagating lithium niobate (LiNb O3) substrate. By electrically exciting a SAW device in a compartment filled with SP, the SP were found to collect along the regions where the SAW propagates on the substrate. The results of the experiments show that SPs are deposited adjacent to regions of large vibration amplitude and form a clear pattern corresponding to the surface wave profile on the substrate. Through an analysis of the SAW-induced acoustic streaming in the air adjacent to the substrate and the surface acceleration measured with a laser Doppler vibrometer, we postulate that the large transverse surface accelerations due to the SAW ejects SP from the surface and carries them aloft to relatively quiescent regions nearby via acoustic streaming. Offering finer detail than fine powders common in Chladni figures [E. Chladni, Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges (Weidmanns, Erben und Reich, Leipzig, Germany, 1787)] the approach is an inexpensive and a quick counterpart to laser interferometric techniques, presenting a means to explore the controversial phenomena of particle agglomeration on surfaces. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.

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