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'Orca ears' inspire Stanford researchers to develop ultrasensitive undersea microphone
Date:6/23/2011

nd the third was tuned to the mid-range volumes.

The diaphragms are so tiny the largest is three-tenths of a millimeter in diameter Kilic could fit all three into a space far smaller than the wavelengths of the sound they sought to detect. That was critical, because it allowed the diaphragms to effectively function as one.

"Since they all measure the exact same signal just with different degrees of responsiveness they work like a single sensor," Kilic said.

"It is a very high dynamic range microphone, able to sense everything from the weakest sounds to those 100 million times stronger."

All three diaphragms along with a separate fiber optic cable for each, plus another used for calibration fit easily into the housing of the microphone, which is barely larger than a pea.

But the little pea-sized microphone could have a big impact on a wide range of research, from standard applications such as surveying the ocean floor to more exotic endeavors in particle physics that use acoustic detectors to monitor ultra-high-energy neutrinos almost weightless particles emitted by the sun plunging into the ocean.


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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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