In vivo measurement of differential motion inside the organ of Corti using a low coherence interferometer system

Fangyi Chen, Dingjun Zha, Anders Fridberger, Jiefu Zheng, Niloy Choudhury, Steven L. Jacques, Ruikang K. Wange, Alfred L. Nuttall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The differential motion of the organ of Corti has been expected as a result of the outer hair cell force, believed to be necessary for the cochlear amplifier. In vitro experiments have been performed to demonstrate this motion but the in vivo data was unavailable due to the technical difficulties. Using a specially-designed time-domain optical coherence tomography system, we performed in vivo imaging and vibration measurement at the sensitive base of the guinea pig cochlea. This technique, for the first time, provides in vivo information about the internal vibration of the organ of Corti. At low sound level, when the cochlea is more sensitive, top surface of the organ of Corti, the reticular lamina (RL) showed tuning at a higher frequency than of the bottom surface, basilar membrane (BM) and its vibration amplitude is 2-3 times of that of the BM. Corresponding to the frequency difference, the phase of RL vibration is lead to that of the BM. Both the amplitude gain and the phase lead on RL is level dependent. This suggests that they are related to the cochlear amplification. The amplitude gain at the RL is an enhancement of the BM motion for stimulating the stereocillia. The advance in time of RL vibration can prepare proper timing of stereocillia stimulation for the cochlear amplification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VIII
StatePublished - 2012
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2012Jan 24 2012

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Cochlea
  • Low coherence interferometer
  • Organ of corti
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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