This Chapter presents a new physical model for signal processing phenomena (power amplification and frequency selectivity) occurring in the inner ear (Cochlea). It is generally accepted that Outer Hair Cells (OHCs) play a pivotal role in the Cochlear signal processing. In the proposed new model we postulate that all signal processing phenomena in the Cochlea are due to electrical currents flowing in the Cochlea structure. Three crucial characteristics of the OHCs are: 1) a forward mechanoelectrical transduction, 2) a strong piezoelectric effect (direct and inverse), and 3) a transmembrane nonlinear capacitance. The new model postulates existence of a biological electromechanical transistor (EMT) in each of the OHCs (based on a forward mechanoelectrical transduction phenomenon), which enhances the power of an incoming acoustic signal. Consequently, the nonlinear capacitance of the appropriate OHCs is charged (pumped) by an AC current source generated at the output of the proposed EMT transistor. Power amplification and frequency selectivity are realized on the nonlinear capacitance, which constitutes an essential part of a parametric amplifier circuit. The amplified and sharpened in frequency electric signal is then converted to a mechanical signal by the OHCs (inverse piezoelectric effect) and transferred to the Inner Hair Cells that transform this mechanical signal into an output electrical signal supplied to the afferent nerves.
Part of the book: Advances in Clinical Audiology
Shear horizontal (SH) surface waves of the Love type are elastic surface waves propagating in layered waveguides, in which surface layer is “slower” than the substrate. Love surface waves are of primary importance in geophysics and seismology, since most structural damages in the wake of earthquakes are attributed to the devastating SH motion inherent to the Love surface waves. On the other hand, Love surface waves found benign applications in biosensors used in biology, medicine, and chemistry. In this chapter, we briefly sketch a mathematical model for Love surface waves and present examples of the resulting dispersion curves for phase and group velocities, attenuation as well as the amplitude distribution as a function of the depth. We illustrate damages due to Love surface waves generated by earthquakes on real-life examples. In the following of this chapter, we present a number of representative examples for Love wave biosensors, which have been already used to DNA characterization, bacteria and virus detection, measurements of toxic substances, etc. We hope that the reader, after studying this chapter, will have a clear idea that deadly earthquakes and a beneficiary biosensor technology share the same physical phenomenon, which is the basis of a fascinating interdisciplinary research.
Part of the book: Surface Waves