Auditory Membrane Vibrations: Measurements at Sub-Angstrom Levels by Optical Heterodyne Spectroscopy

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Science  05 Jul 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4145, pp. 55-57
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4145.55


We describe an optical technique for measurement of mechanical vibrations in the auditory organs of living animals. The technique uses light scattered from the vibrating structure and offers several new advantages. Better than 1 angstrom sensitivity, 10 micrometers spatial resolution, and > 70 decibels dynamic range are achieved. Illustrative measurements of the mechanical response of the tympanic membrane of crickets (Gryllidae) are reported.