Abstract

Thermal-wave fields have been optically generated and measured, using spatially resolved scanning photopyroelectric detection. Both single laser-beam diffraction profiles and thermal-wave patterns from two laser beams, interfering coherently in a manner analogous to Young’s optical-wave experiment, have been produced. The diffraction and interference images have further been shown to be in excellent qualitative agreement with a Laplace thermal-wave propagation formalism, which treats thermal-wave diffraction in the small-aperture approximation. A mechanism for quantitative agreement was obtained after the finite size of the probing metal detector tip was taken into account in mapping thermal-wave fields.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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