A system for determining a property of a fluid based on ultrasonic diffraction grating spectroscopy includes a diffraction grating on a solid in contact with the fluid. An interrogation device delivers ultrasound through the solid and a captures a reflection spectrum from the diffraction grating. The reflection spectrum including a diffraction order equal to zero exhibits a peak whose location is used to determine speed of sound in the fluid. A separate measurement of the acoustic impedance is combined with the determined speed of sound to yield a measure of fluid density. A system for determining acoustic impedance includes an ultrasonic transducer on a first surface of a solid member, and an opposed second surface of the member is in contact with a fluid to be monitored. A longitudinal ultrasonic pulse is delivered through the solid member, and a multiplicity of pulse echoes caused by reflections of the ultrasonic pulse between the solid-fluid interface and the transducer-solid interface are detected. The decay rate of the detected echo amplitude as a function of echo number is used to determine acoustic impedance.