South Korean Researchers Use Nanowires for Tiny Speakers
The evolution of sound has moved hand-in-hand with the evolution of speakers. Writer Dexter Johnson in online magazine spectrum.ieee.com reviewed how electronic sound evolved from amphitheaters and megaphones, through the analog and digital revolutions in recording and broadcasting. The latest development is tiny speakers created by South Korean researchers.
A variety of nanomaterials have been used over the years in loudspeakers and microphones. Nanoparticles have replaced permanent magnets in loudspeakers and a thin film of carbon nanotubes has done pretty much the same. And one reserchers attempted to use graphene to reproduce sound for microphones.
Now researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea have made a nanomembrane out of silver nanowires to serve as flexible loudspeakers or microphones. The researchers even went so far as to demonstrate their nanomembrane by making it into a loudspeaker that could be attached to skin and used it to play the final movement of a violin concerto—namely, La Campanella by Niccolo Paganini. You will find a link to that demonstration below.