Improved spatio-temporal measurements of visually evoked fields using optically-pumped magnetometers

Gialopsou, Aikaterini, Abel, Christopher, James, T M, Coussens, Thomas, Bason, Mark G, Puddy, Reuben, Di Lorenzo, Francesco, Rolfs, Katharina, Voigt, Jens, Sander, Tilmann, Cercignani, Mara and Kruger, Peter (2021) Improved spatio-temporal measurements of visually evoked fields using optically-pumped magnetometers. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). a22412 1-11. ISSN 2045-2322

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Recent developments in performance and practicality of optically-pumped magnetometers (OPMs) have enabled new capabilities in non-invasive brain function mapping through magnetoencephalography. In particular, the lack of cryogenic operating conditions allows for more flexible placement of sensor heads closer to the brain, leading to improved spatial resolution and source localisation capabilities. Through recording visually evoked brain fields (VEFs), we demonstrate that the closer sensor proximity can be exploited to improve temporal resolution. We use OPMs, and superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) for reference, to measure brain responses to flash and pattern reversal stimuli. We find highly reproducible signals with consistency across multiple participants, stimulus paradigms and sensor modalities. The temporal resolution advantage of OPMs is manifest in a twofold improvement, compared to SQUIDs. The capability for improved spatio-temporal signal tracing is illustrated by simultaneous vector recordings of VEFs in the primary and associative visual cortex, where a time lag on the order of 10–20 ms is consistently found. This paves the way for further spatio-temporal studies of neurophysiological signal tracking in visual stimulus processing, and other brain responses, with potentially far-reaching consequences for time-critical mapping of functionality in healthy and pathological brains.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2022 16:48
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 17:00

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