IEM Distinguished Lecturers Seminar: The human ear: a living sensor


Event details

Date 22.09.2023
Hour 13:1514:00
Speaker Prof. Fabrice Lemoult, Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris - PSL, France
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
The seminar will take place in ELA 2 and will be simultaneously broadcasted in the main auditorium in Neuchâtel Campus (MC A1 272).

Coffee and cookies will be served at 13:00 before the seminar, in front of the two auditoriums. 


The human ear is a fascinating sensor, capable of detecting a range of sounds covering ten octaves in frequency and twelve orders of magnitude in amplitude. These exceptional properties are the result of non-linear phenomena that occur within the cochlea, the organ of the inner ear responsible for the conversion of sound stimuli into nerve impulses. The understanding of such mechanisms is both a fundamental challenge and an opportunity to improve the performance of microphones.
In this presentation, we transpose results obtained in the field of acoustic metamaterials to the context of hearing. With the help of a device consisting of a succession of resonant tubes of increasing heights, we experimentally reproduce an analogue of the cochlear response. But, what is fascinating in the biology of the cochlea is precisely its living character. To mimic this property, we create an "animated" metamaterial, by adding in each resonator a feedback loop. The results show that our artificial cochlea qualitatively reproduces the behavior of a biological one.

Fabrice Lemoult is an Associate Professor at Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris - PSL. His expertise encompasses acoustics, elastic vibrations, micro-waves, and optics. He has conducted research on subwavelength focusing in metamaterials and on the introduction of topological properties into metamaterial lattices. Recent works devote to the propagation of elastic waves in soft media which well mimic biological tissues or in the understanding of hearing.