Characterization of mechanical and thermal properties using ultrafast optical metrology

G. Andrew Antonelli, Bernard Perrin, Brian C. Daly, David G. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrafast lasers have long been used to study the dynamics of fast optical electronic, and chemical processes in materials. These tools can also be used in a variety of optical pump and probe spectroscopics to generate and detect acoustic signals with frequencies on the order of 100 GHz, and to generate and detect thermal waves with penetration depths on the scale of nanometers. The short wavelengths of these probes make them ideal for the study of the mechanical and thermal properties of thin films, their interfaces, and nanostructures. We describe the picosecond-laser acoustics technique and demonstrate now it can be used to extract the elastic constants and the adhesion of thin films and probe the normal modes of vibration of nanostructures. The thermal properties of thin films are also accessible through time-domain thermo-reflectance. Since the mechanical and thermal properties can be obtained quickly on micrometer-scale regions of a sample, spatial mapping of the properties is also possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-613
Number of pages7
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Laser
  • Optical
  • Thin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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