Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Acoustic Imaging Suite

Idaho National Laboratory

Contact INL About This Technology

Technology Marketing Summary

INL’s acoustic imaging technology improves methods of capturing moving images of a specified object by using a photorefractive effect to produce a full-field image of the object without using a probe to perform a full scan of the object. INL technology includes a second device that produces an acoustic image of an object using acoustic wave results in the formation of at least one surface displacement on the surface of the target object. A light source produces an optical object wave front and then a detector senses the image related to the surface displacement produced by the sensing medium. This technology also can assess the material properties of objects.


Acoustic imaging processes are useful in situations where the substance of a liquid impairs traditional optical imaging approaches and techniques. Acoustic waves are able to easily travel through such substances and provide images of objects in such liquids. There are two basic approaches to acoustic imaging. First, an array of microphones is used to detect acoustic amplitude and phase changes in order to create an image base on reflected acoustic waves. Second, a more conventional approach includes scanning a single microphone across a target object to detect acoustic reflections at various times in certain locations.


-        Captures moving images of a specified object,

-        Produces a full-field image of an object without the use of a probe to perform a full scan,

-        Produces the image of an object in liquid substance, and

-        Assesses the material properties of an object

Applications and Industries

Acoustic image, acoustic wave, imaging, object detection, acoustic amplitude

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 6,836,336
Inspection system calibration methods
An inspection system calibration method includes producing two sideband signals of a first wavefront; interfering the two sideband signals in a photorefractive material, producing an output signal therefrom having a frequency and a magnitude; and producing a phase modulated operational signal having a frequency different from the output signal frequency, a magnitude, and a phase modulation amplitude. The method includes determining a ratio of the operational signal magnitude to the output signal magnitude, determining a ratio of a 1st order Bessel function of the operational signal phase modulation amplitude to a 0th order Bessel function of the operational signal phase modulation amplitude, and comparing the magnitude ratio to the Bessel function ratio.
Idaho National Laboratory 12/28/2004
Patent 6,134,006
Imaging photorefractive optical vibration measurement method and device
A method and apparatus are disclosed for characterizing a vibrating image of an object of interest. The method includes providing a sensing media having a detection resolution within a limited bandwidth and providing an object of interest having a vibrating medium. Two or more wavefronts are provided, with at least one of the wavefronts being modulated by interacting the one wavefront with the vibrating medium of the object of interest. The another wavefront is modulated such that the difference frequency between the one wavefront and the another wavefront is within a response range of the sensing media. The modulated one wavefront and another wavefront are combined in association with the sensing media to interfere and produce simultaneous vibration measurements that are distributed over the object so as to provide an image of the vibrating medium. The image has an output intensity that is substantially linear with small physical variations within the vibrating medium. Furthermore, the method includes detecting the image. In one implementation, the apparatus comprises a vibration spectrum analyzer having an emitter, a modulator, sensing media and a detector configured so as to realize such method. According to another implementation, the apparatus comprises a vibration imaging device.
Idaho National Laboratory 10/17/2000
Patent 5,827,971
Optical vibration detection spectral analysis assembly and method for detecting vibration in an object of interest
A vibration detection assembly is described which includes an emitter of light which has object and reference beams, the object beam reflected off of a vibrating object of interest; and a photorefractive substance having a given response time and which passes the reflected object beam and the reference beam, the reference beam and the object beam interfering within the photorefractive substance to create a space charge field which develops within the response time of the photorefractive substance.
Idaho National Laboratory 10/27/1998
Patent 7,876,453
Laser ultrasonic multi-component imaging
Techniques for ultrasonic determination of the interfacial relationship of multi-component systems are discussed. In implementations, a laser energy source may be used to excite a multi-component system including a first component and a second component at least in partial contact with the first component. Vibrations resulting from the excitation may be detected for correlation with a resonance pattern indicating if discontinuity exists at the interface of the first and second components.
Idaho National Laboratory 01/25/2011
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
5827971 (LIT-PI-192), 6836336 (B-072B), 6134006 (LIT-PI-274), 7876453 (BA-210)ProductionAvailable08/31/201208/31/2012

Contact INL About This Technology

To: Ryan Bills<>