Electrical neural recordings are based on the measurement of voltage differences by an electrode located in the proximity of neurons. Microelectrodes are used to record single cell action potentials, while macroelectrodes record local field potentials, an overlay of the electrical activity of thousands of neurons. A significant gap exists in available neurotechnologies, as is not possible to record neural activity at the mesoscopic scale of resolution, between microelectrodes and macroelectrode arrays; new technologies are needed that allow measuring with high spatiotemporal resolution and with a large area coverage.
Currently at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF), in collaboration with imec, we are working on bridging this gap by developing large-scale, high-density, flexible neural probes that can offer high spatial resolution and spatial sampling coverage of the brain tissue. This multidisciplinary project at the interface of biology and engineering will provide novel neurotechnologies for interfacing with the brain. The project capitalizes on the unique combination of skills and expertise available at NERF and its founding partners.
The objective of this master thesis is to develop the corresponding readout software for the high-density probes. The readout system will be based on commercial silicon chips for bio-potential monitoring and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) will be used to address the electrode array. The student will be responsible for the hardware and software interface between the probes and the computer, primarily working on the readout software, exploring different implementations that maximize the number of electrodes that can be read simultaneously. Employing the developed system, the neural probes fabricated at imec will be characterized both in vitro and in vivo.
The project includes the following project phases: 1. Developing of the readout software 2. Basic testing & characterization in vitro 3. Testing & characterization in vivo
Knowledge of basic electronic circuits and Verilog HDL is required. Knowledge of C++ 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
Required background: Biomedical engineering, Computer Science, Electromechanical engineering, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering
Only for self-supporting students.