Scientists Create World’s Tiniest Ear

Posted on: January 14, 2012

Have you ever wondered what a virus sounds like? Or what noise a bacterium makes when it moves between hosts? If the answer is yes, you may soon get your chance to find out, thanks to the development of the world’s tiniest ear. The “nano-ear,” a microscopic particle of gold trapped by a laser beam, can detect sound a million times fainter than the threshold for human hearing. Researchers suggest the work could open up a whole new field of “acoustic microscopy,” in which organisms are studied using the sound they emit.

The concept of the nano-ear began with a 1986 invention known as optical tweezers. The tweezers use a laser beam focused to a point with a lens to grab hold of tiny particles and move them around. They’ve become a standard tool in molecular biology and nanotechnology, helping researchers inject DNA into cells and even manipulate it once inside. Optical tweezers can also be used to measure minuscule forces acting on microscopic particles; once you’ve grabbed hold of your particle with the laser beam, instead of moving it yourself, you simply use a microscope or other suitable monitoring apparatus to watch whether it moves of its own accord. That’s where the nano-ear comes in.

via Scientists Create World’s Tiniest Ear – ScienceNOW.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 334 other followers

Follow me on Twitter

Medical Professional Database Award


Visitors Now

who's online

Blog Stats

  • 1,427,564 hits


Top Rated

Flickr Photos

Crummock Boat

Habronattus viridipes jumping spider

The Pinnacles

all the things | marin headlands, california

Ghost Town (Overboard)

Raindrop Tree

Bad part of town

Last September Lights

Pend Oreille River Foggy Autumn


More Photos


Networked blogs


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 334 other followers

%d bloggers like this: