Among the various schemes being considered for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), Lamb-wave testing has shown great promise. While Lamb-wave testing using hand-held transducers for Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) is a well-established technology, Lamb-wave testing for SHM using surface-bonded/embedded piezos is a relatively new field. Little effort has been made towards a precise characterization of Lamb-wave excitation using piezos and often the various parameters involved are chosen without mathematical foundation. In this work, modeling of transient plane and circular-crested Lamb-wave generation and sensing using surface-bonded piezos in isotropic plates based on the 3-D linear elasticity equations is explored. Equations for the output voltage response of surface-bonded piezo-sensors in Lamb-wave fields are presented and optimization of the actuator/sensor geometry and materials is done based on those. Finally, numerical and experimental results to examine the validity of these models are discussed.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.