The two-dimensional square-lattice phononic crystal is one of the recently proposed acoustic metamaterials. Strong anisotropic propagation of elastic waves makes the material promising for various potential applications in acoustics and acousto-optics. This paper presents a study of the propagation of elastic waves in two-dimensional phononic crystals based on fused silica. The band structures of a phononic crystal are obtained by solving the wave equation in its variational form by the finite element method. The main phononic crystal acoustic characteristics that are of practical interest in acousto-optics are calculated based on the analysis of the dispersion relations. It is shown that the choice of the phononic crystal geometry makes it possible to control the distributions of both the inverse phase velocities and the energy walk-off angles of acoustic modes. The calculations of the acoustic modes' polarization are in a particular focus. It is demonstrated that under certain conditions, there are exactly three acoustic modes propagating in a phononic crystal, the averaged polarization vectors of which are mutually orthogonal for any directions of the acoustic wave's propagation. It is argued that the acoustic properties of phononic crystals meet the requirements of acousto-optics.
Keywords: finite element method; fused silica; polarization of acoustic waves; two-dimensional phononic crystals.