Nondestructive Evaluation of Materials
Laser-ultrasonics is a particular implementation of ultrasonic nondestructive inspection in which ultrasound is generated and detected by lasers. This article discusses the various mechanisms that ensure ultrasound generation and explains the possibility to get the equivalent of phase-array by numerical processing of an array of previously acquired laser-ultrasonic signals. The article describes the ultrasound generation by thermoelastic mechanism and ablation or vaporization. It illustrates the principle of optical detection of ultrasound with confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer and photorefractive two-wave mixing interferometer. The article concludes with information on the industrial applications of laser-ultrasonics, including thickness measurement, flaw detection, and material characterization.