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Proceedings Paper

Laser interferometric measurement of the micromechanics of the inner ear
Author(s): Anthony W. Gummer; Werner Hemmert; Hans-Peter Zenner
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Paper Abstract

Recent advances in optical techniques for vibration measurement have made it feasible to purchase commercially available laser Doppler velocimeters that, in combination with a light microscope, are capable of detecting velocities of poorly reflecting biological materials down to fractions of a micrometers s-1. Thus, in our particular application, the aim is to understand the micromechanics of the inner ear, particularly in the nanometer region where the ear is first able to detect sound. With currently available devices, it is now possible to make the necessary vibration measurements without need of introducing reflecting materials onto the object of interest. This not only avoids inertial loading, but also allows focusing through cellular layers onto otherwise inaccessible structures. Here we present the results of micromechanical experiments for the in vitro inner ear of the guinea pig, the most commonly used model in auditory physiology. Our experiments concentrate on the third and fourth cochlear turns because in this region the different cellular structures of the organ of Corti are optically accessible with present technology. The mechanical responses of all examined structures, including the basilar membrane, were equally frequency selective, but linear below 90 dB SPL, suggesting that active mechanical tuning is not as pronounced in the apex as in the base of the cochlea. This has important consequences for signal processing in the inner ear.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 1995
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2329, Optical and Imaging Techniques in Biomedicine, (1 February 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.200866
Show Author Affiliations
Anthony W. Gummer, Univ. of Tubingen (Germany)
Werner Hemmert, Univ. of Tubingen (Germany)
Hans-Peter Zenner, Univ. of Tubingen (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2329:
Optical and Imaging Techniques in Biomedicine
Hans-Jochen Foth; Aaron Lewis; Halina Podbielska; Michel Robert-Nicoud; Herbert Schneckenburger; Anthony J. Wilson, Editor(s)

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