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Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open Access

Low-frequency surface wave propagation and the viscoelastic behavior of porcine skin

Paper Abstract

A physical model describing the propagation of low-frequency surface waves in relation to the viscoelastic behavior of porcine skin is presented, along with a series of empirical studies testing the performance of the model. The model assumes that the skin behaves as a semi-infinite, locally isotropic, viscoelastic half-space. While the assumption of a semi-infinite body is violated, this violation does not appear to have a significant impact on the performance of the model based on the empirical studies. 1-Hz surface waves in the skin propagate primarily as Rayleigh waves with a wavelength and velocity of approximately 3 m and 3.0 m/s, respectively. The amplitude of the acoustic wave, as measured by tracking the acoustic stress wave-induced shift in a backscattered laser speckle pattern, decreases exponentially with lateral distance from the acoustic source. Using this model of surface wave propagation, the mechanical loss factor or tan of the skin is measured to be on the order of 0.14±0.07. The results presented are consistent with earlier works on the propagation of low-frequency acoustic waves in biological tissues, and should serve as a theoretical and empirical basis for using the wave characteristics of propagating surface waves in combination with the mechanical behavior of the tissue for biomechanical studies and for potential diagnostic applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2004
PDF: 9 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 9(6) doi: 10.1117/1.1803843
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 9, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Sean J. Kirkpatrick, Oregon Health & Science Univ. (United States)
Donald Dean Duncan, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Li Fang, Oregon Health and Science Univ. (United States)

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