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Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Sep 16;89(12):124301. Epub 2002 Aug 30.

Overcoming the diffraction limit in wave physics using a time-reversal mirror and a novel acoustic sink.

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  • 1Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique, ESPCI, Universit√© Paris VII, U.M.R. 7587 C.N.R.S., 10 rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris, France.


In recent years, time-reversal (TR) mirrors have been developed that create TR waves for ultrasonic transient fields propagating through complex media. A TR wave back propagates and refocuses exactly at its initial source. However, because of diffraction, even if the source is pointlike the wave refocuses on a spot size that cannot be smaller than half a wavelength. Here, by using a TR interpretation of this limit, we show that this latter limitation can be overcome if the source is replaced by its TR image. This new device acts as an acoustic sink that absorbs the TR wave. Here we report the first experimental result obtained with an acoustic sink where a focal spot size of less than 1/14th of one wavelength is recorded.

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