Electrical neural recordings are based on the measurement of voltage differences by an electrode located in the proximity of neurons. Currently at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF), in collaboration with imec, we are working on developing large-scale, high-density, flexible neural probes that can offer high spatial resolution and spatial sampling coverage of the brain tissue. To overcome some limitations of passive neural probes, such as limited electrode count and higher noise levels, we have decided to employ active electronic circuits that allow the multiplexation and amplification of the neural signals.
The flexible neural probes we are developing are based on thin-film transistors (TFTs) that utilize metal oxide semiconductors as the channel layer. These devices have attractive characteristics, such as high uniformity, high electron mobility (10 – 50 cm2/V‧s), and their fabrication at low temperatures on plastic substrates. However, they also present some drawbacks, such as their higher intrinsic low-frequency noise compared to silicon devices.
For our application, it would be desired to have an amplifier in close proximity to the recording electrode in order to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. With this project, we would like to explore the feasibility of using an amplifier based on metal oxide semiconductors for the measurement of low voltage neural signals. The thesis includes the design, simulation and characterization of a low-noise amplifier that meets the requirements for neural probes, such as low noise and low area footprint.
Previous experience with analog design is desired but not required.
Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis
Duration: 6-12 months
Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Bioengineering
Required background: Biomedical engineering, Electromechanical engineering, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering
Only for self-supporting students.