Biopotential and Neural Sensors
The nervous system coordinates actions and transmits signals between different parts of the body by using electrical signals. An electrode can be used to record this electrical activity, for example, along the scalp and for the heart as in electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG), respectively. Existing biopotential recording systems suffers from two major shortcomings: (1) limited electrical sensing capabilities, and (2) irritation to the patient by the use of electrodes and gel. These limitations prevent long-term, continuous biopotential recording and stimulation.
The goal of this project is to design, fabricate, and characterize miniaturized biopotential sensors for long-term uninterrupted operation. To address present limitations, two approaches will be used: (1) Sensor miniaturization by using nanoscale CMOS electronics to integrate thousands of sensing channels onto a single silicon substrate. Integration of analog and digital electronics such as low-noise amplifiers, analog-to-digital converters, filters, and readout circuits on the same silicon chip will enable optimization of circuit performance. (2) Novel electrode design using alternative material. Micromachining and nano-fabrication will be used to fabricate electrodes with improved electrical and mechanical properties, which will translate to improved form-factor for patient comfort. Neurological studies with small animals will be conducted using sensor prototypes.
Being able to measure biopotential accurately and continuously allows us to prevent, monitor, and mitigate the symptoms of many neurological disorders such as paralysis, seizures, and loss of sensation.
Areas of study: electrical circuit design, electrode design, electrophysiology
Supervisor: Dr. Derek HO (firstname.lastname@example.org; www.atomstosystems.com)
Suitable for: M.Phil./Ph.D.