Published In

Journal of Biomedical Optics

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Surface waves -- Propagation, Viscoelasticity, Acoustic surface waves


A physical model describing the propagation of lowfrequency surface waves in relation to the viscoelastic behavior of porcine skin is presented, along with a series of empirical studies testing the performance of the model. The model assumes that the skin behaves as a semi-infinite, locally isotropic, viscoelastic halfspace. While the assumption of a semi-infinite body is violated, this violation does not appear to have a significant impact on the performance of the model based on the empirical studies. 1-Hz surface waves in the skin propagate primarily as Rayleigh waves with a wavelength and velocity of approximately 3 m and 3.0 m/s, respectively. The amplitude of the acoustic wave, as measured by tracking the acoustic stress wave-induced shift in a backscattered laser speckle pattern, decreases exponentially with lateral distance from the acoustic source. Using this model of surface wave propagation, the mechanical loss factor or tand of the skin is measured to be on the order of 0.1460.07. The results presented are consistent with earlier works on the propagation of low-frequency acoustic waves in biological tissues, and should serve as a theoretical and empirical basis for using the wave characteristics of propagating surface waves in combination with the mechanical behavior of the tissue for biomechanical studies and for potential diagnostic applications.


Copyright 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.



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