Super-shear evanescent waves for non-contact elastography of soft tissues

John J. Pitre, Mitchell A. Kirby, Liang Gao, David S. Li, Tueng Shen, Ruikang K. Wang, Matthew O'Donnell, Ivan Pelivanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe surface wave propagation in soft elastic media at speeds exceeding the bulk shear wave speed. By linking these waves to the elastodynamic Green's function, we derive a simple relationship to quantify the elasticity of a soft medium from the speed of this supershear evanescent wave (SEW). We experimentally probe SEW propagation in tissue-mimicking phantoms, human cornea ex vivo, and skin in vivo using a high-speed optical coherence elastography system. Measurements confirm the predicted relationship between SEW and bulk shear wave speeds, agreeing well with both theoretical and numerical models. These results suggest that SEW measurements may be a robust method to quantify elasticity in soft media, particularly in complex, bounded materials where dispersive Rayleigh-Lamb modes complicate measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083701
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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