Laser generated ultrasound has been widely used for detecting cracks, surface and sub-surface defects in\ud many different materials. It provides a non-contact wideband excitation source which can be focused into\ud different geometries. Previous workers have reported enhancement of the laser generated Rayleigh wave\ud when a crack is illuminated by pulsed laser beam irradiation. We demonstrate that the enhancement\ud observed is due to a combination of source truncation, the free boundary condition at the edge of the crack\ud and interference effects. Generating a Rayleigh wave over a crack can lead to enhancement of the\ud amplitude of the Rayleigh wave signal, a shift in the dominant frequency of the wideband Rayleigh wave\ud and strong enhancement of the high frequency components of the Rayleigh wave
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