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Additive Laser Excitation of Giant Nonlinear Surface Acoustic Wave Pulses
preprintposted on 2023-07-13, 16:00 authored by Jude Deschamps, Yun Kai, Jet Lem, Ievgeniia Chaban, Alexey Lomonosov, Abdelmadjid Anane, Steven E. Kooi, Keith A. Nelson, Thomas Pezeril
The laser ultrasonics technique perfectly fits the needs for non-contact, non-invasive, non-destructive mechanical probing of samples of mm to nm sizes. This technique is however limited to the excitation of low-amplitude strains, below the threshold for optical damage of the sample. In the context of strain engineering of materials, alternative optical techniques enabling the excitation of high amplitude strains in a non-destructive optical regime are seeking. We introduce here a non-destructive method for laser-shock wave generation based on additive superposition of multiple laser-excited strain waves. This technique enables strain generation up to mechanical failure of a sample at pump laser fluences below optical ablation or melting thresholds. We demonstrate the ability to generate nonlinear surface acoustic waves (SAWs) in Nb:SrTiO$_3$ substrates, at typically 1 kHz repetition rate, with associated strains in the percent range and pressures close to 100 kbars. This study paves the way for the investigation of a host of high-strength SAW-induced phenomena, including phase transitions in conventional and quantum materials, plasticity and a myriad of material failure modes, chemistry and other effects in bulk samples, thin layers, or two-dimensional materials.