Introduction to Electrophysiological Methods and Instrumentation


  • Franklin Bretschneider, Functional Neurobiology Group, Department of Biology, The University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Jan de Weille, Institut des Neurosciences de Montpelier, France

Introduction to Electrophysiological Methods and Instrumentation covers all topics of interest to electrophysiologists, neuroscientists and neurophysiologists, from the reliable penetration of cells, the behaviour and function of the equipment, to the mathematical tools available for analysing data. It discusses the pros and cons of techniques and methods used in electrophysiology and how to avoid their pitfalls.Particularly in an era where high quality off-the-shelf solutions are readily available, it is important for the electrophysiologist to understand how his or her equipment manages the acquisitions and analysis of low voltage biological signals. Introduction to Electrophysiological Methods and Instrumentation addresses this need. The book presents the basics of the passive and active electronic components and circuitry used in apparatuses such as (voltage-clamp) amplifiers, addressing the strong points of modern semiconductors as well as the limitations inherent to even the highest-tech equipment. It concisely describes the theoretical background of the biological phenomena. The book includes a very useful tutorial in electronics, which will introduce students and physiologists to the important basics of electronic engineering needed to understand the function of electrophysiological setups. The vast terrain of signal analysis is dealt with in a way that is valuable to both the uninitiated and the expert. For example, the utility of convolutions and (Fourier, Pascal) transformations in signal detection, conditioning and analysis is presented both in an easy to grasp graphical form as well as in a more rigorous mathematical way.
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Electrophysiologists and students working in general and clinical neurophysiology, muscle physiology and plant physiology.


Book information

  • Published: May 2006
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-370588-4

Table of Contents

Part I: Electricity.Electrical Quantities.Components, Unwanted Properties.Circuits, Schematics, Kirchoff's Laws.Composition of Similar Components; Attenuators.Voltage and Current Measurement.Compostion of Unequal Components: Filters.Part II: Electronics.Active Elements.Vacuum Tubes and Semiconductors.Semiconductor Devices.Diodes and Transistors.Other Semiconductor Types.Amplifiers, Gain, Decibels and Saturation.Noise, Hum, Interference and Grounding.Differential Amplifiers, Block Diagrams.Operational Amplifiers, Feedback.Electronic Filters.Electrophysiological Preamplifiers.Power Supplies and Signal Sources.Electronic Voltmeters.The Cathode Ray Oscilloscope.Digital Electronics, Logic.A/D and D/A Conversions.Computers.Part III: Electrochemistry.Introduction, Properties of Electrolytes.The Metal/Electrolyte Interface.Electrokinetic Processes.Liquid Junction Potentials.Membrane Potentials.Electrodes: Practical Aspects.Volume Conduction: Electric Fields in Electrolyte Solutions.Part IV: Signal AnalysisIntroduction.Analysis of Analogue Potentials.Analysis of Action Potential Signals.Analysis of Nerve Membrane Data.Appendices.A. Symbols, abbreviations and codesB. Symbols for circuit diagramsC. Electrical safety in electrophysiological set-upsD. The use of CRT monitors in visual experiments.E. Complex numbers and complex frequency.F. The mathematics of Markov chains.G. Recursive (non-causal) filters.H. Pseudo code to calculate the macroscopic current and dwell time distributions from a transition matrix.J. Referred and recommended literature.