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Proceedings Article

Early proposal for an acousto-optic gramophone

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert C. Chivers

Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)

Proc. SPIE 3581, Acousto-Optics and Applications III, 237 (November 11, 1998); doi:10.1117/12.330481
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From Conference Volume 3581

  • Acousto-Optics and Applications III
  • Antoni Sliwinski; Bogumil B. J. Linde; Piotr Kwiek
  • Gdansk-Jurata, Poland | May 18, 1998


Some of the work of Professor AO Rankine, first presented to the Physical Society of London in 1919 is reviewed. Prior to discussing his work, elements of acousto-optics, and developments to that time are sketched in order to provide a content for Rankine's innovations. His initial proposal was for a system to transmit speech sounds over distances of several kilometers using light waves. Various possibilities were discussed, the most successful of which was based on the interference of a vertical grid with a superimposed image of itself. This proposal was shortly followed by a successful demonstration of the possibility of using this 'photophone' in conjunction with a rapidly moving photographic film to record any type of sounds. They could then be replayed using a relatively simple optical system and a selenium detector. Some comments are made on the ration between Rankine's system and more recent developments in optical sound recording.

© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Robert C. Chivers
"Early proposal for an acousto-optic gramophone", Proc. SPIE 3581, Acousto-Optics and Applications III, 237 (November 11, 1998); doi:10.1117/12.330481; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.330481

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