Physical Acoustics Group

The Physical Acoustics Group was formed in 1984 to foster the many aspects of physical acoustics and ultrasonics that contribute to fundamental science and its applications.

Fundamental aspects of acoustic wave propagation and the interaction of acoustic waves with matter have importance in fields as diverse as phonon physics and seismology. Ultrasonic wave generation, propagation and attenuation provide compositional and structural information in gases, liquids and solids. There is increasing interest in ultrasonic wave scattering in inhomogeneous materials varying from sea-bed sediments, modern (composite) materials, through to foodstuffs and biological tissues, which provides the basic physics of ultrasonic testing and imaging. Wave propagation in complex media is also of interest in biomedical ultrasound for applications such as focused ultrasound surgery and drug delivery, where nonlinear effects can be important. Other imaging, monitoring and inspection techniques include photo-acoustics, acoustical microscopy and acoustic emission. Crucial to the exploitation of these methods in a quantitative scientific manner is the successful development of devices which generate and detect acoustic waves. Equally important is the successful implementation of validated computational models to describe physical acoustics phenomena. High-performance computing platforms are increasingly being used to solve large scale 3D problems.

One of the most important activities of the Group is the Annual Anglo-French Meeting which provides an informal forum in which the current activity in physical acoustics and ultrasonics in the UK and France is reviewed. There is also the annual Tutorial Day where experts provide talks in form of tutorials on the newest research tools and the basic science of acoustics for both research students and the more experienced researchers. In addition the Group organizes or co-sponsors other meetings on specific topics in the field. Recent subjects have included ultrasonic studies of bone, acoustic microscopy, acoustic trapping of nanoparticles and the contactless generation and detection of ultrasound.

The Group thus acts as a focus of discussion between theoreticians and experimentalists from a wide range of institutions with particular interest in improving the scientific basis of technological developments.

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