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The impulsive acoustic dynamics of soft polymeric surface phononic crystals is investigated here in the hypersonic frequency range by near-IR time-resolved optical diffraction. The acoustic response is analysed by means of wavelet spectral methods and finite element modeling. An unprecedented class of acoustic modes propagating within the polymer surface phononic crystal and confined within 100 nm of the nano-patterned interface is revealed. The present finding opens the path to an alternative paradigm for characterizing the mechanical properties of soft polymers at interfaces and for sensing schemes exploiting polymers as embedding materials.


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