Laser Ultrasonics

National Laboratory: 
Idaho National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Non-destructive examination
Computational Tools Class: 
Processing/Manufacturing Class: 
Shaping and forming

Laser ultrasonics can provide micron- to nanometer-scale elastic property information commensurate with microstructure heterogeneity. Examples include monitoring recrystallization at high temperatures, measuring elastic and dimensional properties of nano-structures, mapping porosity evolution in ceramics, and imaging delamination in composites. Laser ultrasonics is non-contacting, can be used remotely, and is well suited to investigate flaws in materials subjected to multiple environments including extreme.
Laser ultrasound has several advantages over contact techniques, such as:

  • Laser ultrasound provides important information on small length scales without the need for specimen or sample miniaturization.
  • Laser ultrasound is versatile and well suited for complex-geometries.
  • Laser ultrasound can scan large areas quickly.
Capability Bounds: 

From cryogenic temperatures to ~1000°C. Material surface must be polished.

Unique Aspects: 
  • Uses tightly focused lasers to generate and detect ultrasound.
  • Can be used to locate flaws in materials with complex shapes.
  • Well suited to measure high-temperature elastic properties.

Work must be conducted at INL.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Dr. David Hurley, Directorate Fellow
Phone: (208) 526-3665

  1. R. S. Schley, David H. Hurley, and Z. Hua, Optical Fiber Technique for in-reactor mechanical properties measurement, Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, 32B, 1701 (2013).
  2. D. H. Hurley, S. J. Reese, F. Farzbod, Application of laser-based resonant ultrasound spectroscopy to study texture in copper, Journal of Applied Physics, 111, 53527 (2012).
  3. D. H. Hurley, O. B. Wright, O. Matsuda, V. E. Gusev and O. V. Kolosov, Laser Picosecond Acoustics in Isotropic and Anisotropic Materials, Ultrasonics, 38, 470 (2000).
Supporting Document(s):