Photoacoustic "Signatures" of Particulate Matter: Optical Production of Acoustic Monopole Radiation

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Science  05 Oct 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4977, pp. 101-104
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4977.101


Absorption of pulsed laser radiation by a single particle generates a photoacoustic wave whose time profile can be measured with a wideband pressure transducer. Solution of the wave equation for pressure in one, two, and three dimensions shows that the photoacoustic wave is determined by the geometry and dimensions of the particle, and by its sound speed and density relative to the fluid that surrounds it. Photoacoustic waves, referred to here as signatures, are reported in experiments in which fluid droplets, cylinders, and layers are irradiated with 10-nanosecond laser pulses.

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