Detection of acoustic solitary waves in nonlinear lithium niobate crystals

Stevenson, Adrian C.; Mehta, Hiren; Sethi, Rajinder S.; Lowe, Christopher R.
April 2003
Applied Physics Letters;4/21/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 16, p2733
Academic Journal
Pulses of acoustic energy that are propagating in a normal linear material have a tendency for their profile to flatten and broaden, becoming depleted and ill-defined in form; in contrast, nonlinear materials narrow the profile of the pulse envelope. However, provided there is sufficient energy in the pulse, propagation in a nonlinear and dispersive material allows these opposing wave characteristics to cancel each other out, so that a persistent packet of energy known as a solitary wave or soliton can form. Here, we provide experimental evidence for the existence of acoustic solitons and describe the instrumentation, transducers, material conditions, and appropriate solitary wave test for acoustic pulses. Our key contribution was the use of acoustic chirp profiling for verifying the formation of acoustic solitary waves over the short path lengths necessary for a practical demonstration.


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