Abstract

A novel and simple technique based on the light diffraction effect for visualization of low-frequency underwater acoustic waves (LFUAWs) in real time has been developed in this paper. A cylindrical object has been put on the surface of the water. A low-frequency underwater longitudinal wave can be generated into a water surface transversal capillary wave around the cylinder by our technique. Modulating the phase of a laser beam reflected from a water surface by surface acoustic waves (SAWs) realizes the acousto-optic effect. Then, a steady and visible diffraction pattern is experimentally observed. A physical model of the SAW is established to verify the feasibility of our technique. An analytical expression of wavelength, wave amplitude, and excitation frequency has been derived to study the physical properties of LFUAWs, and it explains the experimental phenomenon very well. As a result, the technique is effective, easy, and practical for visualizing LFUAWs and has significance for applications.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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