We report on the time-dependent optical diffraction from ultra-high frequency laser-induced acoustic waves in thin layers of ruthenium deposited on glass substrates. We show that the thermo-optic and strain-optic effects dominate the optical response of Ru layers to a traveling longitudinal strain wave. In addition, we show the generation and detection of acoustic waves with a central frequency ranging from 130 GHz to 750 GHz on ultra-thin layers with thicknesses in the range of 1.2 - 20 nm. For these ultra-thin layers we measure a strong dependency of the speed of sound on the layer thickness and, thus, the frequency. This frequency-dependent speed of sound results in a frequency-dependent acoustic impedance mismatch between the ruthenium and the glass substrate, leading to a faster decay of the measured signals for increasing frequency. Furthermore, for these extremely high-frequency oscillations, we find that the frequency and phase remain constant for times longer than about 2 ps after optical excitation. Back extrapolation of the acquired acoustic signals to t = 0 gives a starting phase of −π/2. As this seems unlikely, we interpret this as an indication of possible dynamic changes in the phase/frequency of the acoustic wave in the first 2 ps after excitation.

Opt. Express
Light-Matter Interaction

de Haan, G., van den Hooven, T., & Planken, P. (2021). Ultrafast laser-induced strain waves in thin ruthenium layers. Opt. Express, 29(20), 32051–32067. doi:10.1364/oe.438286