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Ultrasonics. 2002 May;40(1-8):293-6.

Inhomogeneous plane wave and the most energetic complex ray.

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Laboratoire de Mécanique Physique, Université Bordeaux 1, UMR CNRS 5469, Talence, France.


This paper presents a study on the wave surfaces of anisotropic solids. In addition to the classical and real rays, which are defined by the normal to the slowness surfaces, it is obtained complex rays, which are associated to specific inhomogeneous plane waves. Referring to the complex Christoffel's equation and to the Fermat's principle, an intrinsic equation can be associated to these complex rays. Limiting the study to principal planes and plotting the associated complex wave surfaces, it can be shown that four energetic rays always exist in any directions for both quasi-isotropic and anisotropic media (even beyond the cusp). Consequently, it is always possible to define four closed wave surfaces (real or not).

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