Imaging of Surface Vibrations Using Heterodyne Interferometry

Kimmo Kokkonen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The research summarized in this dissertation focuses on the development of a heterodyne scanning laser interferometer and of data-analysis techniques for the characterization and analysis of the surface vibration fields in microacoustic devices and test structures. The heterodyne laser interferometer enables a phase-sensitive, absolute-amplitude detection of the out-of-plane component of a surface vibration field, with a minimum detectable amplitude of less than a picometer, while the lateral resolution is better than 1 micrometer. The instrument features a flat frequency response up to 6 GHz. The phase-sensitive absolute-amplitude data enables the visualization of the actual wave behavior in electromechanical components and test structures, but more importantly, it is the basis for further analysis. The research instrument is applied to the study of electroacoustic devices based on surface acoustic wave (SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) technologies. Two novel SAW devices are studied in detail: a phononic crystal (PnC) structure and a scattering structure resulting in a random wave field. PnCs are acoustic metamaterials that can provide engineered material properties. The laser interferometric measurements were amongst the first to directly characterize the wave interaction with the PnC. SAW slowness curves of an anisotropic substrate material are extracted by measuring and analyzing the scattered random wave field. Data analysis methods are developed further in the context of BAW research by experimentally addressing two important aspects of device design: the correct operation of the acoustic reflector used to confine the energy in the resonator, and investigation of the role of the dispersion and standing wave resonances to the spurious responses often observed in high-Q resonators. Fourier transform techniques are used for selective visualization of wave fields and for the extraction of the dispersion characteristics of the plate-waves. The dispersion data are then further used to analyze the transfer characteristics of an acoustic reflector and to study the properties of lateral eigenresonances and the lateral energy confinement in detail. The research described in this thesis provides a detailed characterization of the operation of SAW and BAW devices and effects within, highlighting and further developing the experimental characterization capabilities and data-analysis methods.
Translated title of the contributionPinnanvärähtelyiden kuvantaminen heterodyneinterferometrian avulla
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Kaivola, Matti, Supervising Professor
  • Kaivola, Matti, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5788-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5789-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • laser interferometry
  • microacoustics
  • surface acoustic waves
  • bulk acoustic waves


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