Faculty Advisor

Yiming Rong

Faculty Advisor

Maria del Socorro Hernández-Montes

Faculty Advisor

Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz

Faculty Advisor

Cosme Furlong

Faculty Advisor

Glenn R Gaudette

Faculty Advisor

John J. Rosowski


The conventional methods for diagnosing pathological conditions of the tympanic membrane (TM) and other abnormalities require measuring its motion while responding to acoustic excitation. Current methodologies for characterizing the motion of the TM are usually limited to either average acoustic estimates (admittance or reflectance) or single-point mobility measurements, neither of which is sufficient to characterize the detailed mechanical response of the TM to sound. Furthermore, while acoustic and single-point measurements are useful for the diagnosis of some middle ear disorders, they are not useful in others. Measurements of the motion of the entire TM surface can provide more information than these other techniques and may be superior for the diagnosis of pathology. In this Thesis, the development of an optoelectronic holographic otoscope (OEHO) system for characterization of nanometer scale motions in TMs is presented. The OEHO system can provide full-field-of-view information of the sound-induced displacements of the entire surface of the TM at video rates, allowing rapid quantitative analysis of the mechanical response of normal or pathological TMs. Preliminary measurements of TM motion in cadaveric animals helped constrain the optical design parameters for the OEHO, including the following: image contrast, resolution, depth of field (DOF), laser power, working distance between the interferometer and TM, magnification, and field of view (FOV). Specialized imaging software was used in selecting and synthesizing the various components. Several prototypes were constructed and characterized. The present configuration has a resolution of 57.0 line pairs/mm, DOF of 5 mm, FOV of 10 ´ 10 mm2, and a 473 nm laser with illumination power of 15 mW. The OEHO system includes a computer controlled digital camera, a fiber optic subsystem for transmission and modulation of laser light, and an optomechanical system for illumination and observation of the TM. The OEHO system is capable of operating in two modes. A 'time-averaged' mode, processed at video rates, was used to characterize the frequency dependence of TM displacements as tone frequency was swept from 500 Hz to 25 kHz. A 'double-exposure' mode was used at selected frequencies to measure, in full-field-of-view, displacements of the TM surface with nanometer resolution. The OEHO system has been designed, fabricated, and evaluated, and is currently being evaluated in a medical-research environment to address basic science questions regarding TM function. Representative time-averaged holographic and stroboscopic interferometry results in post-mortem and live samples are herein shown, and the potential utilization discussed.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





tympanic membrane, optoelectronic holography, otoscope, stroboscopic holography, interferometry, Hearing disorders, Diagnosis, Holography, Optoelectronic devices