About SCT Acoustics

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Stephen C. Thompson, Ph.D. specializes in the analysis and design of acoustic transducers for use in air and underwater, and in the design of systems that use those transducers.

Dr. Thompson received his Ph.D. in Physics from Case Western Reserve University where he studied  Acoustics with Professor A. H. Benade. His thesis dealt with nonlinear feedback oscillations in woodwind musical instruments, and explained how and why woodwind musicians adjust their embochure to set the resonance frequency of the reed to be at a harmonic of the played note. This is a fascinating problem in nonlinear oscillations, but is of little practical importance, because musicians have been doing it perfectly well without the need for a physical explanation.

After completing his education, Dr.Thompson spent nearly thirty years working in commercial Research and Development. He began his career with a Defense manufacturing division of Gould Inc. This division was later acquired by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. His work at Gould and Westinghouse was in the analysis and design of sonar transducers and arrays, and in methods of beamforming and shading coefficient determination for phased array sonar beams. In nearly two decades in this industry his work moved from individual contributions in design, through project and functional management, and resulted in three patents on original design concepts for sonar transducers.

In 1995, Dr. Thompson accepted a position on the R&D staff at Knowles Electronics Inc. Knowles was and is the designer and largest manufacturer of miniature acoustic transducers used as components in the manufacture of hearing aids and other small audio devices. In this role he became an expert in the understanding and design and use of electret microphones and balanced armature audio speakers. These technical areas remain a part of his active technical interests and research. To date, five patents have been awarded based on his research at Knowles, with additional patents filed and pending.

Since 2005, Dr. Thompson is on the Research Faculty at Penn State, continuing his research in acoustical devices and systems in all of the areas of his previous industrial experience. He would be happy to discuss areas of possible contract research in any of these areas.