Superlattice ultrasonic generation

Thomas E. Wilson, Marshall University
M. Oehme
E. Kasper
H-J. L. Gossmann

This article first appeared in the 2011 issue of Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2nd International Symposium on Laser-Ultrasonics - Science, Technology and Applications, and is reprinted with permission.

The version of record is available on the publisher’s site at

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©2011 IOP Publishing. All rights reserved.


We report the first experimental evidence for the resonant excitation of coherent high-frequency acoustic phonons in semiconducting doping superstructures by far-infrared laser radiation. After a grating-coupled delta-doped silicon doping superlattice is illuminated with ~1 kW/mm2 nanosecond-pulsed 246 GHz laser radiation, a delayed nanosecond pulse is detected by a superconducting bolometer at a time corresponding to the appropriate time-of-flight for ballistic longitudinal acoustic phonons across the (100) silicon substrate. The absorbed phonon power density in the microbolometer is observed to be ~10 μW/mm2, in agreement with theory. The phonon pulse duration also matches the laser pulse duration. The absence of any delayed transverse acoustic phonon signal by the superconducting bolometer is particularly striking and implies there is little or no incoherent phonon generation occurring in the process.