Device offers cat-like hearing to humans

Cats have a much wider range of hearing compared to humans.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Researchers are developing atomically thin “drumheads”, which are tens of trillions of times thinner than the human eardrum, and will provide cat-like hearing abilities to humans.

According to the results of the ongoing research published in the journal Science Advances, these “drumheads” would be able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in the U.S. said that they achieved this cat-like hearing with a device that was tens of trillions times smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum.

“We need transducers that can handle signals without losing or compromising information at both the ‘signal ceiling’ (the highest level of an undistorted signal) and the ‘noise floor’ (the lowest detectable level),” said corresponding author Philip Feng.

Nano techniques

The team constructed the device by exfoliating individual atomic layers from the bulk semiconductor crystal and using a combination of nanofabrication and micromanipulation techniques to suspend the atomic layers over micro-cavities pre-defined on a silicon wafer and then making electrical contacts to the devices.

“What we’ve done here is to show that some ultimately miniaturised, atomically thin electromechanical drumhead resonators can offer remarkably broad dynamic range, up to 110dB, at radio frequencies (RF) up to over 120MHz,” Mr. Feng said. “These dynamic ranges at RF are comparable to the broad dynamic range of human hearing capability in the audio bands,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 8:02:13 AM |

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