We present experimental studies of the interaction between a narrow Gaussian laser beam and a standing cylindrical ultrasonic wave. As a theoretical approach, a Fourier-optics-based successive diffraction model is used. Depending on the ratio of the Gaussian laser beam diameter to the first nodal diameter of the cylindrical ultrasound, light refraction or diffraction is observed. We experimentally investigate the time-averaged light intensity as well as the modulation of light in the far field of light refraction–diffraction by a cylindrical ultrasound. It is revealed that significant focusing appears if the phase front of the incident light is curved. The focusing effects of the acousto-optic system depend on the width of the laser beam and curvature of the phase front. Finally, possible applications are discussed.
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