Excitation and reradiation of surface waves is of great importance in imaging with the reflection acoustic microscope. By modeling with the simplest 'specimen' that allows such excitation (an elastic membrane) the authors have investigated the imaging performance of the microscope in situations where the acoustic beam size is comparable to that of the features in the object imaged. The presence of surface waves necessitates careful analysis of imaging performance and resolution. A criterion is introduced to analyze the imaging performance. The interaction between the specimen and the imaging system has profound effects on the response and is discussed in detail.
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