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Spatial manipulation of nanoacoustic waves with nanoscale spot sizes

Abstract

Coherent acoustic phonons are generated at terahertz frequencies when semiconductor quantum-well nanostructures are illuminated by femtosecond laser pulses1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. These phonons—also known as nanoacoustic waves—typically have wavelengths of tens of nanometres, which could prove useful in applications such as non-invasive ultrasonic imaging10,11,12 and sound amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation13. However, optical diffraction effects mean that the nanoacoustic waves are produced with spot sizes on the micrometre scale. Near-field optical techniques can produce waves with smaller spot sizes, but they only work near surfaces14. Here, we show that a far-field optical technique—which suffers no such restrictions—can be used to spatially manipulate the phonon generation process so that nanoacoustic waves are emitted with lateral dimensions that are much smaller than the laser wavelength. We demonstrate that nanoacoustic waves with wavelengths and spot sizes of the order of 10 nm and 100 nm, respectively, can be generated and detected.

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Figure 1: Coherent acoustic phonon generation in piezoelectric semiconductor nanostructures.
Figure 2: Spatial manipulation of coherent acoustic phonon generation.
Figure 3: Experimental demonstration of spatially manipulated coherent phonon generation.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Yuen-Lin Tsai and Wen-Pin Huang for processing the sample. This work was sponsored by the National Science Council of Taiwan under Grant No. 95-2120-M-002-013.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

C.-K.S. conceived and conducted the studies. K.-H.L. designed the experiments. K.-H.L. and C.-M.L. performed the simulation. K.-H.L., S.-Z.S. and C.-F.C. performed the experiments. K.-H.L. and C.-K.S. analysed the data. C.-C.P., J.-I.C. and J.-W.S. contributed the samples. K.-H.L. and C.-K.S. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chi-Kuang Sun.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary calculation and simulation (PDF 68 kb)

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Lin, KH., Lai, CM., Pan, CC. et al. Spatial manipulation of nanoacoustic waves with nanoscale spot sizes. Nature Nanotech 2, 704–708 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2007.319

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