Energy efficiency of pulse shaping in electrical stimulation: the interdependence of biophysical effects and circuit design losses

F. Varkevisser*, T.M. Lopes Marta da Costa, W.A. Serdijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Power efficiency in electrical stimulator circuits is crucial for developing large-scale multichannel applications like bidirectional brain-computer interfaces and neuroprosthetic devices. Many state-of-the-art papers have suggested that some non-rectangular pulse shapes are more energy-efficient for exciting neural excitation than the conventional rectangular shape. However, additional losses in the stimulator circuit, which arise from employing such pulses, were not considered. In this work, we analyze the total energy efficiency of a stimulation system featuring non-rectangular stimuli, taking into account the losses in the stimulator circuit. To this end, activation current thresholds for different pulse shapes and durations in cortical neurons are modeled, and the energy required to generate the pulses from a constant voltage supply is calculated. The proposed calculation reveals an energy increase of 14%–51% for non-rectangular pulses compared to the conventional rectangular stimuli, instead of the decrease claimed in previous literature. This result indicates that a rectangular stimulation pulse is more power-efficient than the tested alternative shapes in large-scale multichannel electrical stimulation systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number065009
Number of pages12
JournalBiomedical Physics & Engineering Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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