EP2362686A2 - Sound converter for installation in an ear - Google Patents

Sound converter for installation in an ear Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2362686A2
EP2362686A2 EP11001587A EP11001587A EP2362686A2 EP 2362686 A2 EP2362686 A2 EP 2362686A2 EP 11001587 A EP11001587 A EP 11001587A EP 11001587 A EP11001587 A EP 11001587A EP 2362686 A2 EP2362686 A2 EP 2362686A2
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
preferably
membrane structure
layer
membrane
electrodes
Prior art date
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Granted
Application number
EP11001587A
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP2362686A3 (en
EP2362686B1 (en
Inventor
Dominik Kaltenbacher
Armin Schäfer
Jonathan Schächtele
Hans-Peter Zenner
Erich Goll
Ernst Dalhoff
Paul Muralt
Janine Conde
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Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV
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Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV
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Priority to DE102010009453A priority Critical patent/DE102010009453A1/en
Application filed by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV filed Critical Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV
Publication of EP2362686A2 publication Critical patent/EP2362686A2/en
Publication of EP2362686A3 publication Critical patent/EP2362686A3/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP2362686B1 publication Critical patent/EP2362686B1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R17/00Piezo-electric transducers; Electrostrictive transducers
    • H04R17/005Piezo-electric transducers; Electrostrictive transducers using a piezo-electric polymer
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R17/00Piezo-electric transducers; Electrostrictive transducers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R25/00Deaf-aid sets, i.e. electro-acoustic or electro-mechanical hearing aids; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception
    • H04R25/60Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles
    • H04R25/604Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles of acoustic or vibrational transducers
    • H04R25/606Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips, housings or to ossicles of acoustic or vibrational transducers acting directly on the eardrum, the ossicles or the skull, e.g. mastoid, tooth, maxillary or mandibular bone, or mechanically stimulating the cochlea, e.g. at the oval window
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R31/00Apparatus or processes specially adapted for the manufacture of transducers or diaphragms therefor
    • H04R31/003Apparatus or processes specially adapted for the manufacture of transducers or diaphragms therefor for diaphragms or their outer suspension
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R1/00Details of transducers, loudspeakers or microphones
    • H04R1/10Earpieces; Attachments therefor ; Earphones; Monophonic headphones
    • H04R1/1016Earpieces of the intra-aural type
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2460/00Details of hearing devices, i.e. of ear- or headphones covered by H04R1/10 or H04R5/033 but not provided for in any of their subgroups, or of hearing aids covered by H04R25/00 but not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2460/13Hearing devices using bone conduction transducers
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/42Piezoelectric device making

Abstract

The converter has a membrane structure comprising a piezo layer with a piezoelectric material arranged on a carrier layer i.e. silicon layer, so that vibrations of the membrane structure are generated by applying voltage to the piezo layer. The structure is divided into segments (9a, 9b) in a surface of the structure by cutting lines (7) so that a membrane is mechanically coupled to the cutting lines that cut through all layers of the structure. One of the cutting lines structures the structure into a spiral segment that runs around a middle point of the structure. An independent claim is also included for a method for manufacturing a sound converter.

Description

  • The invention relates to a sound transducer for generating sound vibrations, which can be used in an ear and in particular can be used for an implantable hearing aid. The sound transducer has at least one carrier layer and at least one piezoelectric layer, whereby a deflection is achieved via a bimorph principle, or a deflection can be detected by tapping a voltage.
  • In the prosperous industrialized countries between 10 and 20% of the population suffer from a more or less pronounced deafness - due to the demographic trend with increasing tendency. The majority of patients can be treated with conventional hearing aids, but especially in cases of severe hearing loss, these systems reach their limits.
  • In contrast, implantable hearing aids (also called active middle ear implants) are characterized by a greater sound amplification potential and better sound quality. However, due to the complex implantation, the associated risk and the high costs, they are usually only used in younger or highly deaf patients, but achieve a high level of satisfaction there.
  • The technical problem with hearing aid implants is the coupling of the implanted transducer to the auditory system of the middle and inner ear. Current implants make a mechanical connection to the ossicles. This requires a healthy middle ear during implantation, which excludes patients with chronic otitis media and inoperable damage to the ankle chain from treatment.
  • Currently, the vast majority of hearing aids implanted in the middle ear stimulate the ossicles. For some such solutions, a component is attached directly to the ossicles, which vibrates and amplifies the auditory ossicle movement via the direct mechanical coupling. The oscillation of the attached to the ossicles component is, for example, electromagnetically by a moving between two coils iron core (eg AU 2009202560 A2 ) or by a permanent magnet oscillating in a magnetic field generated outside the middle ear (eg WO 0047138 A1 ) generated.
  • Other solutions stimulate the ossicles via a mechanically directly coupled electromagnetic transducer. The input signal for the excitation of the ossicles is hereby detected either in front of a defective connection point by a mechanically connected sensor or recorded with an implantable or lying outside the body microphone.
  • A problem with many prior art solutions is that they require a mastoidectomy, in particular to provide the transducer with electrical energy. Such procedures are relatively complex and usually can not be done on an outpatient basis carry out. To make matters worse, that the anatomical spaces that are available for implantation, are extremely small and the transducer therefore has to muster an extremely high energy density. In many solutions of the prior art also occur coupling losses and the coupling quality is poorly reproducible. Precisely because of this, however, the intervention for the insertion of a hearing aid is reserved for only a few specialists with expensive equipment, which is why these solutions are expensive and less widespread. In addition, existing actuators have a size that is suitable only in part of the patient to optimally couple to the desired anatomical structures such as the round window membrane, while a reduction of the existing sound transducer would lead to insufficient performance.
  • The object of the present invention is to specify a sound transducer which can be implanted with little effort, in particular without mastoidectomy, and at the same time achieves a high audiological quality. Preferably, a low variability of the audiological quality is desired.
  • This object is achieved by the sound transducer for insertion into an ear according to claim 1 and the method for producing a sound transducer according to claim 18. The dependent claims indicate advantageous developments of the transducer according to the invention.
  • The implantable sound transducer according to the invention is set up and suitable for generating and / or detecting sound vibrations and has at least one Membrane structure on.
  • The membrane structure of the sound transducer according to the invention is divided into at least one, two or more segments by at least one cut line in its planar extent. Subdivision of the membrane surface means that the entire membrane, so both the support layer and the piezoelectric layers, and optionally electrode layers are subdivided by common cutting lines, so that the membrane is mechanically decoupled at the cutting line or lines, which means that two by a cutting line separate regions of the membrane structure are independently movable. The subdivision or segmentation of the membrane surface thus means corresponding segmentation of the carrier layer and corresponding segmentation of the piezoelectric layers and optionally electrode layers.
  • The segmentation allows a high amplitude of vibration at a very small size, without this measure, the force is too low.
  • The closest possible coupling of a sound transducer to the round window (fenestra cochleae) or oval window (fenestra ovalis or vestibularis) is advantageous for the audiological quality of a hearing aid equipped with the sound transducer, in particular as a sound generator. An acoustic transducer placed in front of the round or oval window can also be implanted by an implanting surgeon via access via the external auditory canal and eardrum in a relatively short time, possibly even on an outpatient basis.
  • Preferably, therefore, the membrane structure is designed so that the sound transducer on, in or in front of a round window or an oval window of an ear or a hearing can be arranged so that it covers this window at least partially or completely. In the case of a sound generator with the membrane structure, the sound transducer can be arranged so that vibrations of the membrane structure cause sound vibrations through the round or oval window. Preferably, the membrane structure is in direct contact with the membrane of the corresponding window.
  • Particularly preferably, the sound transducer and the membrane structure is designed so that the sound transducer in a niche in front of the oval or round window of an ear, i. the round window, as measured by the average of the population or the majority of the population, is recoverable. In this case, an acoustic coupling between the membrane structure and the corresponding window membrane on the one hand by introducing material between the membrane structure and the window membrane, both touching, are produced. However, if the membrane structure is arranged on the round or oval window in such a way that it directly contacts the membrane of the corresponding window, it is however possible for layers to passivate or seal the membrane structure to be arranged between the actual membrane structure and the corresponding window membrane are.
  • For the purposes of the application, sound vibrations are understood to mean vibrations with frequencies that are perceptible by the human ear, ie vibrations between approximately 2 Hz and 20,000 to 30,000 Hz Sound vibrations are also suitable to excite sound waves in a medium, in particular air or perilymph.
  • Sound vibrations are advantageously generated by the round or oval window. This means that sound waves can be excited by the sound transducer in the inner ear, which emanate from the corresponding round or oval window. Advantageously, it is thus possible to generate sound waves emanating from the round or oval window by vibrating the membrane structure in, on or in front of the corresponding window and thereby directly excite the perilymph, ie a liquid medium in the inner ear, to vibrate or a window membrane to vibrate stimulates, which in turn stimulates the perilymph.
  • According to the invention, the membrane structure has at least one carrier layer and at least one piezo layer arranged on the carrier layer, which has at least one piezoelectric material. The carrier layer and the piezoelectric layer form a bimorph structure and are therefore arranged and configured such that the membrane structure can be set into oscillation by applying a voltage, in particular an alternating voltage, to the piezoelectric layer and / or the voltages generated in the piezoelectric layer by oscillation of the membrane are detectable. For this purpose, the carrier layer and the piezo layer can be arranged on or against one another with parallel layer planes and should be connected to one another directly or indirectly. Said cut lines preferably cut through all layers of the membrane structure.
  • Advantageously, a good audiological To ensure quality, the membrane structure designed so that it allows a maximum deflection of 1 to 5 microns, preferably 5 microns. For example, at a frequency ν of 4 kKz, an acoustic flux impedance Z F of the round window of 32 GΩ and an area A of the membrane of the round window of approximately 2 mm 2 , a driving force of 2 π ν Z F A 2 x = 1.6 10 -2 N, necessary. The average energy equals half of the product of maximum force and maximum displacement, in this example 4 × 10 -8 J, to obtain the power. Converted to a space of eg 2 mm 3 is needed in this example, therefore, an energy density of 20 J / m 3 .
  • The segments can be designed, in particular with regard to their length, so that the impedance is optimal.
  • For this purpose, the membrane structure is particularly preferably designed in thin-film technology. Thin layers are advantageous because high fields are required to produce high energy densities while the applied voltages should be as low as possible due to the biological environment. The required energy densities can be achieved in a thin-film membrane.
  • In particular, the piezoelectric layers can be produced according to the invention in thin-film technology. For this purpose, piezo material is applied in the thickness of the piezo layer for a piezo layer of the membrane structure to be produced. The application can be made via deposition techniques such as physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition sputtering and others. By producing the piezoelectric layers by depositing piezo material in the desired thickness can be realized significantly thinner piezoelectric layers than in the prior art, where finished grown piezocrystals were ground to the thickness of the piezoelectric layer.
  • The piezo layers preferably have a thickness of ≦ 20 μm, preferably ≦ 10 μm, particularly preferably ≦ 5 μm and / or ≥ 0.2 μm, preferably ≥ 1 μm, preferably ≥ 1.5 μm, particularly preferably 2 2 μm. The electrode layers preferably have a thickness of ≦ 0.5 μm, preferably ≦ 0.2 μm, more preferably ≦ 0.1 μm and / or ≥ 0.02 μm, preferably ≥ 0.05 μm and particularly preferably ≥ 0.08 μm ,
  • Thin layers of the transducer - both the silicon beam structure and the piezo layer (s) - ensure that only a small mass is set in motion when the beams are deflected. The resonant frequency of the vibration system is in the upper range of the frequency range of human hearing for the described Aktorvarianten. It is thus a uniform excitation of the round window over the entire human frequency range possible.
  • The generation of the mechanical vibrations of the transducer according to the invention is based on the principle of elastic deformation of a bending beam, wherein the membrane or segments of the membrane can be considered as a bending beam. The piezoelectric layer (piezoelectric layer) can be shortened and / or extended by applying the voltage and the electric field that can be generated thereby. In the composite material of carrier layer and piezoelectric layer in this case mechanical stresses are generated, leading to an upward bending of the beam or the Membrane structure lead to a shortening piezoelectric layer and a corresponding downward movement with extending piezoelectric layer. Whether the piezo layer extends or shortens depends on the polarization direction of the piezoelectric layer and the direction of the applied voltage or the applied electric field.
  • In a single-layer transducer, the described carrier layer may carry a single layer of piezoelectric material. In addition, the electrodes form further components of the layer structure. A bottom electrode can be applied directly or above a barrier layer on the silicon substrate, whereas a top electrode can be located on the piezoelectric layer. The polarization direction of the piezoelectric material is preferably perpendicular to the surface of the silicon structure. Now, if an electric voltage is applied between the top and bottom electrode and an electric field is formed, the piezoelectric material in the longitudinal direction of the beam is shortened or lengthened by the transversal piezoelectric effect, mechanical stresses in the layered composite are generated and the (in accordance with the sign of the voltage) Beam structure undergoes a bend.
  • It is preferred if the membrane structure has a circular or oval circumference. In particular, it is advantageous in this case if the circumference of the membrane structure corresponds to the circumference of the round or oval window of an ear, so that the peripheral line of the membrane structure runs parallel to the circumference of the round or oval window when the sound transducer is implanted.
  • By a round or slightly oval shape of the transducer can be placed directly on the membrane of the round window. Since the round window membrane can be regarded as firmly clamped on its bony border and there shows no oscillation deflection, the maximum oscillation deflections occur in the geometric center of the membrane. If the transducer is now placed in the middle of the round window membrane, the maximum deflections of transducer and membrane are superimposed, so that a good audiological coupling and a large sound amplification potential is achieved by the transducer. An n-angular extent of the membrane structure with n preferably ≥ 8 is also possible.
  • In particular, in the case of a circular circumference, but also in other forms, the membrane structure, it is further preferred if the cutting lines, which divide the membrane surface into segments, extend radially from an edge of the membrane structure in the direction of a center of the membrane. Here, the cutting lines do not start right at the edge and do not reach to the center, it is also sufficient if the cutting lines from the vicinity of the edge to the vicinity of the center run. If, however, the cutting lines do not reach the center point, a free region should be present in the center, in which the cutting lines end, so that the mechanical decoupling of the segments at that end facing the center point is ensured.
  • The segments may in this case be designed such that they are cake-shaped, that is, have two edges extending at an angle to each other as side edges and an outer edge, which on the circumference of the Membrane structure runs parallel to this circumference. At the other end of the side edges, opposite the outer edge, the segments may be tapered or cut so as to give a free area around the center. The segments can then be fixedly disposed on the outer edge at the edge of the membrane structure and be independent of each other at the side edges and optionally that the edge facing the center, so that they can swing freely around the outer edge. The largest deflection will normally occur at that end of the segment facing the center. Preferably, the number of segments is ≥ 8.
  • The cutting lines can in this case run radially straight, so that the segments have straight radial edges.
  • However, it is also possible that the radially extending cutting lines are curved so that there are segments with non-straight radially extending edges. In particular, segments may thereby be formed that extend in an arcuate, wave-shaped or along a zigzag line in the radial direction. Numerous other geometries are conceivable.
  • In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the membrane structure can be structured in a spiral shape by at least one cutting line. The at least one cutting line runs in such a way that at least one spiral-shaped segment results, which preferably winds around a center of the membrane structure. It is also possible to provide a plurality of cutting lines, which divide the membrane structure so that there are two or more spiral-shaped segments, which are advantageous in each case to wind the center of the membrane structure and particularly preferably run into each other.
  • In order to set the membrane structure in vibration and / or to tap a voltage at the piezoelectric layer, at least one first and at least one second electrode layer may be arranged on the membrane structure, wherein the at least one piezoelectric layer is arranged between the first and the second electrode layer. In this case, the electrode layers preferably cover the piezo layer and are arranged with parallel layer planes on or on the piezo layer. Preferably, the first or second electrode layer is arranged between the carrier layer and the piezo layer, so that the piezo layer is arranged on one of the electrode layers on the carrier layer. Particularly preferably, the piezoelectric layer and the electrode layers completely cover each other.
  • The use of segmental structures allows for a higher deflection as compared to an unstructured membrane, as the beam elements, where separated by the cutting lines, e.g. in the center of the disc, free to deform and thus experience a constant bend in one direction only. The deformation of a continuous membrane, however, is characterized by a change in direction of the curvature, which leads to lower deflections.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the membrane structure has a plurality of piezoelectric layers arranged on one another with parallel surfaces, an electrode layer being arranged between each two adjacent piezoelectric layers. It is thus on the support layer alternately one electrode layer and a piezoelectric layer arranged. Electrode layers and piezo layers can be arranged directly on one another, connected to one another, or arranged one above the other via one or more intermediate layers. With this embodiment, vibrations can be generated with a particularly large force or power and detect vibrations particularly accurately.
  • In this converter modification, therefore, electrodes with different electrical potential alternate with piezoelectric layers in the layer structure. The silicon structure is first followed by a bottom electrode, followed by a first piezoelectric layer, an electrode with opposite potential, a second piezoelectric layer, an electrode with the potential of the bottom electrode, etc.
  • The poling direction of the individual piezoelectric layers can be perpendicular to the surface of the membrane structure, as in the single-layer converter, but it shows in the opposite direction for alternating piezoelectric layers. The electrical field which builds up between the electrodes and the polarization direction alternating for the individual piezoelectric layers ensures a common change in length of the entire layer structure, which in turn causes a bending of the silicon structure.
  • Advantageously, the electrode layers are configured or contacted so that each two adjacent electrode layers can be charged with charge of different polarity. As a result, an electric field can be generated in the piezoelectric layers, which runs in each case from one electrode layer to the adjacent electrode layer. To this Way, the piezoelectric layers can be particularly uniformly interspersed with electric fields. In the case of vibration detection, preferably different signs of a voltage arising at the piezoelectric layer can be tapped in each case by adjacent electrode layers.
  • In a further advantageous embodiment of the present invention, at least two band-shaped, ie elongate, electrodes forming a pair of electrodes may be arranged on the surface of the at least one piezoelectric layer or on the surface of the carrier layer so that they run parallel to the corresponding surface and preferably also parallel to each other. The two electrodes of an electrode pair can each be charged with charge of different polarity, so that an electric field is formed between the electrodes of an electrode pair, which at least partially passes through the piezoelectric layer. If a plurality of pairs of electrodes is provided, an electric field can also form between electrodes of different polarity of adjacent pairs of electrodes, which penetrates the piezoelectric layer. In the case of vibration detection, different signs of the voltage below can be contacted accordingly by one electrode of the electrode pair.
  • The conductor track structures of the band-shaped electrodes may preferably have a rectangular cross-section.
  • It is particularly advantageous if a multiplicity of electrode pairs, each with two electrodes which can be acted upon with different polarity, are so advantageous are arranged so that the electrodes of the plurality of electrode pairs are parallel to each other. In this case, the electrode pairs should also be arranged so that in each case two adjacent electrodes with charge of different polarity can be acted upon. In this way, between each two adjacent electrodes forms an electric field passing through the piezoelectric layer. In the event that, as described here, a plurality of electrode pairs are provided, so are a plurality of electrodes on a surface of the piezoelectric layer or the carrier layer, which can be parallel to each other and can be arranged side by side with alternating polarity.
  • The polarity of the piezoelectric material is not distributed homogeneously over the entire piezoelectric layer in this case, but rather the polarization direction extends in a field-line fashion from the negative to the positive electrode. If, during operation of the converter, the comb-shaped electrodes are subjected to alternating electrical potential, an electric field is formed along the polarization direction of the piezoelectric material, along which the piezo material expands or shortens. As a result, the entire piezo layer is lengthened or shortened in the longitudinal direction of the beam, which leads to a downward bending or upward bending of the silicon structure.
  • It is particularly advantageous if the electrodes also extend parallel to the edge of the membrane structure. Thus, if the membrane structure is circular, the electrodes preferably form concentric circles around the center of the membrane structure. Accordingly, the electrodes are preferably oval in an oval membrane structure designed. The electrodes can each extend along the entire circumference parallel to the circumference of the membrane structure or only on a part of the circumference, so that they have, for example, the shape of circular circumference sections.
  • Ribbon-shaped electrodes can be contacted particularly advantageously via common conductors, with a majority of the electrodes being contacted by a common conductor. Thus, a plurality of the electrodes of one polarity may be connected to at least one first conductor and electrodes of the other polarity may be connected to at least one second conductor. In order that the electrodes of different polarity are arranged alternately, the electrodes of different polarity assigned to the different conductors can mesh with one another like a comb. The common conductors may in this case intersect the electrodes of the polarity corresponding to them and run e.g. in the case of circular electrodes, particularly preferably radially.
  • Also in the case of a band-shaped configuration of the electrodes, the membrane structure can be designed in a multi-layered manner. In this case, on the one hand, it is possible, on the one hand, for a plurality of piezo layers to be arranged one on top of another, in which case band-shaped electrodes can run between in each case two adjacent piezo layers. The arrangement of the electrodes in this case corresponds to the arrangement described above on the surface of a piezoelectric layer. But it is also possible that the membrane structure has at least one piezoelectric layer which is penetrated by band-shaped electrodes or electrode pairs in one or more planes. In this case, the electrodes of the pairs of electrodes run inside the corresponding ones Piezo layer. The various possibilities of arrangement here correspond to those of the above arrangement on the surface of the piezoelectric layer.
  • This variant of the sound transducer has over the previous solution to a thicker piezoelectric layer, which can be traversed by several layers of comb-shaped electrodes. The polarization in the piezoelectric material in turn proceeds in a field-line fashion from the negative to the positive printed conductor electrodes. When the voltage is applied, an electric field is formed along the polarization direction, which leads to an expansion or shortening of the piezoelectric material along the field lines and to a downward bending or upward bending of the beam structure.
  • In the case of spiral segments, band-shaped electrodes may be arranged along the longitudinal direction of the segments. Preferably, an electrode pair is sufficient here.
  • Since the sound transducer is used in a biological environment, it is advantageous if the voltage with which the electrodes are applied is less than 3 volts, preferably less than 2 volts, particularly preferably less than 1.3 volts. Alternatively or additionally, it is also possible to encapsulate the electrodes in a liquid-tight and / or electrically insulating manner so that they do not come into contact with a liquid possibly surrounding the sound transducer.
  • However, such a sealed enclosure will have such a high acoustic impedance that considerable audiological losses can be expected.
  • Since the piezoelectric effect in the range considered is proportional to the strength of the electric field which penetrates the material, very high fields can be produced by using very thin piezoelectric layers with a very small spacing of the electrodes (the electric field is calculated as a quotient in the homogeneous case applied voltage and distance of the electrodes) that the piezoelectric effect is sufficient to achieve the necessary for the excitation of the round window vibration deflections and forces.
  • The carrier layer may comprise or consist of silicon. As piezo materials are, inter alia, PbZr x Ti 1-x O 3 with preferably 0.45 <x <0.59, more preferably with dopants of, for example La, Mg, Nb, Ta, Sr and the like, preferably with concentrations between 0.1 and 10%, in Question. Other solid solutions with PbTiO 3 , such as Pb (Mg 1/3 , Nb 2/3 ) O 3 , Pb (Sn 1/3 Nb 2/3 ) O 3 are also suitable. Possible materials are also lead-free materials containing KNbO 3 , NaNbO 3 , doping with Li, Ta, etc., Bi-containing piezo layers, Aurivilius phases with Ti, Ta, Nb, and also Perovskitphasen, such as BiFe 3 . Even classic thin-film materials such as A1N and ZnO are possible.
  • Silicon as a carrier material for the piezoelectric layers makes it possible to produce the disk-shaped structure and the cake-piece-shaped bending beam with the structuring techniques of microsystem technology. Known and proven coating and etching processes for producing beams, electrodes and piezoelectric layer can be used, for example sol-gel techniques, sputtering, chem. Etching, ion etching, etc. Furthermore, the methods of microsystem technology allow a parallelization of the manufacturing process; From a silicon wafer can be produced in a production passage a variety of transducers. This allows a cost-effective production.
  • The at least one piezoelectric layer preferably has a thickness of ≦ 20 μm, preferably ≦ 10 μm, more preferably ≦ 5 μm and / or ≥ 0.2 μm, preferably ≥ 1 μm, preferably ≥ 1.5 μm, particularly preferably 2 2 μm. The electrode layers each preferably have a thickness of ≦ 0.5 μm, preferably ≦ 0.2 μm, more preferably ≦ 0.1 μm and / or ≥ 0.02 μm, preferably ≥ 0.05 μm, particularly preferably ≥ 0.08 microns. A diameter of the membrane structure is preferably ≦ 4 mm, preferably ≦ 3 mm, more preferably ≦ 2 mm and / or ≥ 0.2 mm, preferably ≥ 0.5 mm, preferably ≥ 1 mm, particularly preferably = 1.5 mm, and particularly preferably chosen so that the sound transducer can be arranged in a suitable manner in front of the round or oval window of an ear. Preferably, the sound transducer in the round window of an ear can be arranged, the dimensions of which can be understood as those of the majority or average of the population in the scope of the present document.
  • The sound transducer according to the invention can be coupled directly by placing the membrane surface directly on a membrane of the round or oval window. Since the maximum vibration deflection of the transducer in the geometric center of the disk is superimposed on the maximum vibration of the diaphragm in the center of the round window, a good audiological coupling with a high sound amplification potential is possible.
  • According to the invention, the sound transducer may also have a plurality of membrane structures as described above. In this case, these membrane structures are structured in the same way and arranged one above the other in parallel to one another such that identical segments of the structure or the cut lines of the membrane structures overlap one another. Identical segments are then coupled to one another such that a deflection and / or force application of one of the segments is transmitted to the adjacent segments. The membrane structures can be arranged one above the other so that when applying a voltage of a given polarity to the transducer all segments are deflected in the same direction. The membrane structures are in this case the same orientation. In this case, a total force higher than that of a single membrane structure can be realized. It is also possible to arrange the membrane structures on one another in such a way that adjacent membrane structures are in each case oriented in the opposite direction, so that when a voltage of a given polarity is applied, adjacent membrane structures each deflect in different directions. In this case, a total deflection can be realized that is greater than that of a single membrane structure.
  • The embodiments of the invention may be specially adapted to the requirements of an implantable hearing aid with an audiological stimulation of the round or oval window in the middle ear. Preferably, the sound transducer is a sound generator. It is also possible to equip classic hearing aids, hearing aids that sit directly on the eardrum or other miniature speakers, such as headphones, with the transducer according to the invention. The transducer is also used as a sensor can be used and allows to generate an electrical signal from a sound signal. The transducer can therefore also be used as a microphone.
  • In the following, the invention will be explained by way of example with reference to some figures. The same reference numerals correspond to the same or corresponding features. The features shown in the examples can also be realized independently of the specific example and in any combination with other described features according to the invention.
  • It shows
  • FIG. 1
    the principle of deflection of a membrane structure according to the invention,
    FIG. 2
    a membrane structure according to the invention, which is circular and is divided into cake-piece-shaped segments,
    FIG. 3
    a section through membrane structures according to the invention,
    FIG. 4
    a section through a transducer according to the invention with a arranged between two electrode layers piezoelectric layer,
    FIG. 5
    a section through a transducer according to the invention with a plurality of piezoelectric layers,
    FIG. 6
    a section through a transducer according to the invention with arranged on the piezoelectric layer band-shaped electrodes,
    FIG. 7
    a section through a transducer according to the invention with a piezoelectric layer passing through band-shaped electrodes,
    FIG. 8
    a plan view of a transducer according to the invention with band-shaped electrodes,
    FIG. 9
    an exemplary arrangement of a sound transducer according to the invention in an ear,
    FIG. 10
    a transducer according to the invention with a plurality of superposed membrane structures that allow a high amplitude, and
    FIG. 11
    a transducer according to the invention with a plurality of superposed membrane structures, which allows a deflection with high force.
  • FIG. 1 shows the basic structure of a transducer according to the invention for the generation and / or detection of sound vibrations, which can be used in an ear. In the example shown, a membrane structure having a piezo layer 2 and two electrode layers 3 and 4 is arranged on a carrier layer 1, for example a silicon layer 1. The carrier layer 1 (elastic layer 1) can be, for example, about one to two times as thick as the piezoelectric layer. A voltage can be applied between the electrode layers 3 and 4 by means of a voltage source 5 or a voltage can be detected by means of a suitable detector. In the example shown, the first one of the electrode layers 3 is arranged on the carrier layer 1, on which then the piezoelectric layer 2 is arranged. On the side of the piezoelectric layer 2 contacting the electrode layer 3, the second electrode layer 4 is arranged. By applying a voltage by means of the voltage source 5, the electrode layers 3 and 4 are charged with opposite polarity, so that between the electrode layers 3 and 4, an electric field is created, which passes through the piezoelectric layer 2.
  • Figure 1A shows the state of the transducer in the event that no voltage is applied. The carrier layer 1, the piezoelectric layer 2 and the electrode layers 3 and 4 in this case extend in a plane, are therefore flat. Will now, as in FIG. 1B shown, a voltage applied by the voltage source 5 between the electrode layers 3 and 4, so passes through an electric field, the piezoelectric layer 2. The piezoelectric layer 2 is shortened thereby, whereby the entire membrane structure of the carrier layer 1, the electrode layers 3 and 4 and the piezoelectric layer in Direction of the piezo layer bends upwards. If the voltage 5 is reversed, the piezoelectric layer 2 expands and the membrane structure bends away from the piezoelectric layer 2. If an alternating voltage is applied to the voltage source 5, the membrane structure can be set in oscillation.
  • FIG. 2 shows a sound transducer according to the invention, which is designed circular, so that it is particularly favorable placed in front of the round window of an ear. It shows FIG. 2A a view of the sound transducer, so that one of the electrode layers 4 can be seen, FIG. 2B shows a top view of one of in FIG. 2A shown side opposite side, so that the carrier layer 1 to see, and Figure 2C shows a top view, the in FIG. 2A shown corresponds to supervision, but here is the membrane structure in the deflected state.
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B show a sound transducer according to the invention with a circular membrane structure in the undeflected state, in which no voltage is applied to the piezoelectric layers 3 and 4. The membrane structure is divided in the example shown by section lines 7 in eight segments 9a, 9b. The segments 9a, 9b are here cake piece-shaped and firmly connected to an edge 6 of the transducer. The segments 9a, 9b are mechanically separated from each other at the cutting lines 7, so that they are movable relative to one another here. In a center 8 of the membrane structure according to the invention, a small opening 8 may be provided in which the cutting lines 7 terminate. In the example shown, the cutting lines 7 run radially from the edge 6 in the direction of the center 8.
  • Figure 2C shows the in FIGS. 2A and 2B shown membrane structure in a state that occurs when, as in FIG. 1B , a voltage is applied between the electrode layers 3 and 4. The segments 9a, 9b of the membrane structure bend here as bimorph bars in the direction of the electrode layer 4, in the example shown thus upwards. The distance of the deflected segments from the plane in which the segments rest in the undeflected state increases in the direction of the center 8 and reaches its greatest value at those ends of the segments 9a, 9b facing the center. The curvature of the segments 9a, 9b maintains its sign between edge 6 and middle 8 at. If applied to the electrodes 3 and 4 Polarity reversed, the segments 9a, 9b bend in the direction of the carrier layer 1, ie in Figure 2C shown below. By applying an alternating voltage, the segments 9a, 9b can be set in vibration. In FIG. 2 the membrane structure is segmented into segments 9a, 9b. This means that both the carrier layer 1 and the piezoelectric layer 2 and the electrode layers 3 and 4 are segmented into segments 9a, 9b in such a way that the carrier layer 1, the electrode layers 3 and 4 and the piezo layer 2 of a segment completely overlap each other ,
  • FIG. 3 shows two possible embodiments of the transducer according to the invention in comparison. In the FIG. 3A embodiment shown corresponds to that in FIG FIG. 1 and 2 shown where the membrane structure is divided into segments 9a, 9b. In that in FIG. 3B In contrast, an unsegmented membrane structure is present. In the FIG. 3A shown segmented embodiment allows this compared to the unstructured in FIG. 3B shown diaphragm a higher deflection, since the two elements 9a, 9b can deform freely in the center 8 of the circular membrane and therefore experience in the direction from the edge 6 to the center 8 a constant curvature in only one direction. At the in FIG. 3B shown unsegmented membrane, the deflection in the middle 8 is lower. In addition, the curvature of the membrane changes from the edge 6 in the direction of the center 8 and changes its sign. On the other hand, however, facilitates the FIG. 3B a gas and liquid-tight closure of an opening by the sound transducer according to the invention.
  • FIG. 4 shows a section through an inventive Sound transducer in which a piezoelectric layer 2 is arranged between an electrode layer 3 and an electrode layer 4. The embodiment substantially corresponds to that in FIG FIG. 1 shown. By means of a voltage source 5, a voltage between the electrode layers 3 and 4 can be applied, which causes an electric field 10 passing through the piezoelectric layer 2, as can be seen in the magnification. The electric field causes the piezo layer 2 to expand or contract, as a result of which the membrane structure bends with the carrier layer 1, the electrode layers 3 and 4 and the piezo layer 2. If an AC voltage is applied to the voltage source 5, the membrane structure can be set in vibration.
  • FIG. 5 shows a further embodiment of the present invention, in which on a support layer 1 now a plurality of piezoelectric layers 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d arranged between them electrode layers 3, 4 is arranged. In this case, an electrode layer 4 is initially arranged on the carrier layer 1, on which then a piezoelectric layer 2a is arranged. An electrode layer is then arranged on the piezoelectric layer 2 a with the polarity of the aforementioned negative-polarity electrode layer 3. On this electrode layer 3, a further piezoelectric layer 2b is now arranged, on which in turn an electrode layer with opposite polarity to the electrode layer 3 is arranged. In the example shown, a total of four piezoelectric layers and three electrode layers 4 of one polarity and two electrode layers 3 of the opposite polarity alternate. Between each two adjacent electrode layers 3, 4, an electric field 10 is formed which passes between the piezoelectric layer 2 a, 2 b, 2 c, 2 d located between the electrode layers 3, 4, so that it expands or contracts. The direction of the electric field changes according to the changing polarity of the electrode layers for the adjacent piezoelectric layers 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d. Again, by applying an alternating voltage to the voltage source 5 between the electrode layers 3 and the electrode layers 4, the entire membrane system with carrier layer 1 and all piezoelectric layers 2 and electrode layers 3 and 4 can be set in vibration.
  • FIG. 6 shows another embodiment of the present invention. In this case, a piezoelectric layer 2 is arranged on a carrier layer 1, which directly contacts the carrier layer 1 in the example shown. On that side of the piezoelectric layer 2 remote from the carrier layer 1, band-shaped electrodes 3, 4 with alternating polarity are now arranged next to one another and parallel to one another. On the surface of the piezoelectric layer 2 facing away from the carrier layer 1, therefore, electrodes of one polarity 3 alternate with the electrodes of the other polarity 4 in a sectional view. In the sectional view in FIG. 6 also the band-shaped electrodes 3 and 4 are shown in section and here have a substantial rectangular cross-section. The electrodes 3 and 4 are equidistant from each other.
  • Between each two adjacent electrodes 3 and 4, an electric field 10 is now formed which extends from one of the electrodes 3 through the piezoelectric layer 2 to the adjacent electrode 4 of opposite polarity. The electric field 10, by applying a voltage at the voltage source 5 between the electrodes 3 and 4 is formed, thus penetrating the piezoelectric layer 2. This thereby changes its length, so that the membrane structure with the carrier layer 1 and the piezoelectric layer 2 bends up or down. As in the previous examples, the membrane structure may be supported by a frame 6 and be segmented or continuous.
  • FIG. 7 shows a further embodiment of the present invention, in which in turn a piezoelectric layer 2 is arranged on a carrier layer 1. The piezoelectric layer 2 is again arranged directly on the carrier layer 1. Also in this embodiment, electrodes 3 and 4 are provided, which can be charged with different polarity when a voltage is applied. Here, too, the electrodes are designed in strip form and run parallel to each other in the longitudinal direction and parallel to the surface of the carrier layer 1 on the piezoelectric layer 2 FIG. 7 However, the electrodes 3 and 4 do not run on the surface of the piezoelectric layer 2 as shown in FIG FIG. 6 shown, but enforce the piezoelectric layer 2 in two planes. In each of the levels run in the same way as on the surface in FIG. 6 , Electrodes 3 and 4 with alternating polarity parallel to each other side by side. Thus, one electrode 3 of one polarity alternates with one electrode 4 of the other polarity in one plane. As a result, upon application of a voltage to the voltage source 5, electric fields 10 which extend between the electrodes 3 and 4 and pass through the piezoelectric layer 2 are formed. In the example shown, the electrodes of the two planes shown above one another, so that over an electrode of the lower level always one electrode of the upper level runs. Here, the electrodes running one above the other have the same polarity, so that the electric fields form predominantly between the electrodes of a plane. It would also be conceivable, however, that the band-shaped electrodes 3 and 4 are arranged such that electrodes running one above the other always have a different polarity. Within a plane, the polarities can alternate.
  • By applying a voltage source 5 so the piezoelectric layer 2 with an electric field 10 is enforceable, resulting in an expansion or contraction of the piezoelectric layer 2. This in turn means that the membrane system bends with the carrier layer 1 and the piezoelectric layer 2. Again, applying an AC voltage generates a vibration of the membrane system.
  • FIG. 8 shows a plan view of a transducer according to the invention, in which the electrodes as in FIG. 6 or FIG. 7 are arranged. In the embodiment of the FIG. 6 The electrodes run on the surface shown. If the embodiment of those of FIG. 7 is, are within the piezoelectric layer below the electrodes shown 3 and 4 further electrodes 3 and 4 are arranged. The electrodes 3 and 4 then pass through the piezoelectric layer 2 in one or more planes.
  • In the FIG. 8 The membrane shown in turn is circular and the electrodes are designed as concentric circular sections. Here, a plurality of electrodes 3 and 4 extend in a circle around the center 8 of the membrane, wherein the polarity of the electrodes 3 and 4 from the edge 6 in the direction of Center 8 alternates. In the Figure 8A shown membrane is segmented into eight segments 9a, 9b, which are fixedly arranged on a common edge 6 and are mechanically decoupled from each other.
  • The plurality of electrodes 3 and 4 are in Figure 8A example shown contacted by conductors 11 and 12, which extend radially from the edge 6 in the direction of the center 8. In this case, electrodes of one polarity 3 are always contacted by a conductor 11 and electrodes of the other polarity 4 by another conductor 12. Thus, a plurality of electrodes 3 of the same polarity can always be contacted by a common conductor 11.
  • FIG. 8B shows a segment 9a in detail. It can be seen that the electrodes of one polarity 4 and those of the other polarity 3 engage in a comb-like manner and are contacted together at their one end by a common conductor 11 and 12, respectively. The electrodes of one polarity 4 in this case run from their common conductor 12 in the direction of the conductor 11 of the other polarity, but end before they reach it, so that no electrical contact between electrodes 4 of one polarity and a conductor 11 of the other polarity is established. In the majority of the area between two conductors 11 and 12 of different polarity, electrodes 3 and 4 always run alternately in the radial direction, so that electric fields can form between the electrodes as shown above, which penetrate the piezoelectric layer and thereby expand or contract the piezoelectric layer 2 can effect.
  • FIG. 9 shows a possible arrangement of an inventive Sound transducer 91 in one ear. The sound transducer 91 has a main body 92, on which via an edge 6, the membrane system is arranged, of which only the carrier layer 1 is shown here. By a cable 93, the sound transducer 91 can be supplied from outside the ear or from the middle ear with electrical energy. In the example shown, the sound transducer 91 is arranged in the round window 94, specifically directly on the round window membrane 95. It would also be conceivable to arrange the sound transducer in front of the oval window, in front of which the stirrup 91 can be seen here. The arrangement shown in front of the round window is particularly favorable, since here the sound transducer 91 can be used by a doctor in a relatively simple manner by the outer ear and the eardrum.
  • If, in the example shown, the membrane system is set in vibration, then the oscillation is transmitted directly to the round window membrane 95, whereby sound waves in the inner ear 96 can be generated. Other possibilities of arranging a sound transducer 91 would be in other places in the ear, for example in front of the eardrum, similar to the round window membrane in the example shown, or as earphones in front of the external auditory canal. In particular, in the external auditory canal, the sound transducer 91 could also serve as a microphone. However, the sound transducer 91 shown can also be coupled with any other sound sensors that enable its membrane structure to be activated. The sound transducer can also be used in the external auditory canal as an earphone. The external shape of sound transducer 91 and membrane structure are to be adapted to the anatomical environment.
  • FIG. 10 shows a transducer with six to achieve a large amplitude stacked transducers 102a, 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e, 102f, which respectively those in FIG. 3A correspond to shown transducers. The same reference numerals correspond to those in FIG FIG. 3A used reference numerals. In this case, in each case two adjacent membrane structures, for example 102a and 102b or 102b and 102c, are arranged reversed in relation to one another so that the membrane structures deflect in the opposite direction upon application of the same polarity for adjacent membrane structures. Thus, if an electrode 3 of a given polarity is oriented downwards in the case of a sound transducer 102c, then it is oriented upward in the case of the adjacent sound transducers 102b and 102d. Correspondingly, the electrode 4 of different polarity, which is oriented upwards in the case of a sound transducer 102c, is also oriented downwards in the adjacent sound transducers 102b and 102d. The individual segments of adjacent sound transducers are connected to each other via connecting means 101, so that a movement of a segment of a sound transducer causes a movement of the same segment of an adjacent sound transducer. In this case, the segments of a sound transducer are connected only to the segments of a further adjacent sound transducer, namely that sound transducer to which the membrane structure faces. Only one of the membrane structures, preferably an outer membrane structure 102a or 102f, is firmly implanted into the transducer with respect to an ear. The other membrane structures 102b, 102c, 102d, 102e are movable and are moved as the segments bend. With the in FIG. 10 shown construction can be realized deflections of the transducer with a particularly high amplitude.
  • FIG. 11 shows a further construction of a sound transducer with several, here four, membrane structures 202a, 202b, 202c and 202d, as shown in FIG FIG. 3A are shown. The membrane structures are in this case again arranged one above the other parallel to one another and oriented identically in this example. This means that all the electrodes of one polarity are arranged on one side, for example the top side of the corresponding sound transducer, and all electrodes of the other polarity 3 on the opposite side, for example the underside of the support layer 1. Therefore, a voltage of a certain polarity is applied to all membrane structures When applied, the membrane structures all deflect in the same direction. In the example shown, the membrane structures are temporarily deflected upwards. Adjacent membrane structures are connected to one another via connection means 201, all membrane structures being connected to one another here. A membrane structure 202b is thus connected to both adjacent membrane structures 202a and 202c. In this case, the connection causes a force effect of a deflection of a membrane structure to be transferred to the adjacent membrane structures. Here, all membrane structures 202a, 202b, 202c, 202d are preferably fixed to an ear in which they are installed, so that the segments move relative to the ear. The embodiment shown, a vibration can be realized with a particularly large force.

Claims (15)

  1. Sound transducer for insertion into an ear, with which sound vibrations can be generated, comprising:
    at least one membrane structure, wherein the membrane structure has at least one carrier layer and at least one arranged on the support layer, at least one piezoelectric material having, piezoelectric layer, so that by applying a voltage to the piezoelectric layer oscillations of the membrane structure can be generated, wherein the membrane structure in a surface of the membrane structure is divided into at least one, two or more segments by at least one, all layers of the membrane structure by cutting, so that the membrane is mechanically decoupled at the cutting line.
  2. Sound transducer according to the preceding claim, characterized in that the sound transducer is an implantable sound generator for a hearing aid, by means of the vibrations of the membrane structure sound vibrations can be generated, wherein the at least one membrane structure is configured so that they in, on and / or before
    a round window or an oval window of an ear and / or in a Rundfesternische an ear, the corresponding window at least partially or completely covering, preferably with a membrane of the corresponding window in direct contact or via connective tissue in contact, can be arranged so that vibrations of the membrane structure cause sound vibrations through the round or oval window.
  3. Sound transducer according to the preceding claim, characterized in that the membrane structure is circular, elliptical or n-sided, with n preferably ≥ 8, and the cut lines extend radially from an edge of the membrane structure in the direction of a center of the membrane structure, so that at least two segments are formed are each fixedly arranged with a wide edge on the edge of the membrane structure and with a center-facing side, which is opposite to the wide edge, are movable.
  4. Sound transducer according to one of claims 1 or 2, characterized in that the membrane structure is circular, elliptical or n-angular, with n preferably ≥ 8, and at least one of the cut lines structures the membrane structure in at least one spiral around a center of the membrane structure extending segment ,
  5. Sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the membrane structure has at least one first and at least one second electrode layer, wherein the at least one piezoelectric layer is arranged between the first and the second electrode layer and wherein preferably the first or the second electrode layer is arranged between the carrier layer and the piezoelectric layer.
  6. Sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the membrane structure has a plurality of piezoelectric layers arranged on each other with parallel surfaces, wherein between two adjacent piezoelectric layers, an electrode layer is arranged, each two adjacent electrode layers are charged with charge of different polarity, so that between each two adjacent electrode layers, an electric Field forms from one to the other electrode layer and wherein preferably the piezoelectric layers touch the corresponding electrode layers.
  7. Sound transducer according to one of claims 1 to 3, characterized by one or more electrode pairs, each with at least two band-shaped electrodes, wherein the band-shaped electrodes of the electrode pairs are each arranged parallel to each other and parallel to a surface of the at least one piezoelectric layer so that in each case two adjacent to each other Electrodes with charge of different polarity can be acted upon, so that between each two adjacent electrodes forming a piezoelectric layer penetrating electric field is formed, wherein preferably the electrodes of several or all pairs of electrodes parallel to each other.
  8. Sound transducer according to claim 7,
    characterized in that the membrane structure has a circular, elliptical or n-angular circumference, with n preferably ≥ 8, and the band-shaped electrodes as concentric circular sections around a center of Membrane structure are formed or formed between each two adjacent radial cutting lines straight and tangential to a circle around the center of the membrane structure.
  9. Sound transducer according to claim 7 or 8,
    characterized in that electrodes of the same polarity are in contact with at least one common conductor, which runs parallel to the surface of the piezoelectric layer, wherein preferably the conductor extends in the radial direction.
  10. Sound transducer according to claim 7 to 9,
    characterized in that the electrodes, preferably directly, are arranged on an upper side of the piezoelectric layer facing away from the carrier layer.
  11. Sound transducer according to claim 7 to 10,
    characterized in that the membrane structure has a plurality of piezoelectric layers arranged on one another, the electrode pairs being arranged in one or more planes between in each case two adjacent piezoelectric layers, wherein the electrode pairs pass through the piezoelectric layer in one or at least two planes parallel to the piezoelectric layer and wherein preferably electrodes of the same electrode pair are arranged in the same plane.
  12. Sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the electrodes and / or the membrane structure are encapsulated liquid-tight and / or electrically isolated, so that they do not come into contact with a liquid surrounding the sound transducer.
  13. Sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the at least one piezoelectric layer has a thickness of ≦ 20 μm, preferably ≦ 10 μm, more preferably ≦ 5 μm and / or ≥ 0.2 μm, preferably ≥ 1 μm, preferably ≥ 1.5 μm, particularly preferably 2 2 μm and / or that the at least one electrode layer has a thickness of ≦ 0.5 μm, preferably ≦ 0.2 μm, more preferably ≦ 0.1 μm and / or ≥ 0.02 μm, preferably ≥ 0.05 μm, especially preferably ≥ 0.08 microns and / or that a diameter of the membrane structure ≤ 4 mm, preferably ≤ 3 mm, more preferably ≤ 2 mm and / or ≥ 0.2 mm, preferably ≥ 0.5 mm, preferably ≥ 1 mm , particularly preferably 1.5 mm.
  14. Sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims,
    with at least two of the membrane structures, which are structured identically and which are arranged one above the other in parallel so that identical segments lie one above the other, wherein identical segments of all or each of two adjacent membrane structures are each connected to one another such that there is a deflection or force exertion of the one segment transmits the adjacent segment, wherein preferably equal segments of adjacent membrane structures are deflected upon application of a voltage with a given polarity to the transducer in the same direction or in opposite directions.
  15. Method for producing a sound transducer according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the at least one piezoelectric layer is produced by depositing piezoelectric material in the thickness of the piezoelectric layer.
EP11001587.2A 2010-02-26 2011-02-25 Sound converter for installation in an ear Active EP2362686B1 (en)

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US20120053393A1 (en) 2012-03-01
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US20170094417A1 (en) 2017-03-30
US10206045B2 (en) 2019-02-12

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