State-of-the-art high-density neural probe
To the global neuroscience research community, imec released and is making available its state-of-the-art high-density neural probe: Neuropixels. Andrea Lodi is working on this project on-site.
Currently Andrea’s main work is related to Neuropixels, state-of-the-art high-density neural probes with almost a thousand electrodes, and 384 recording channels on a single shank. The Neuropixels probe provides an unprecedented resolution for mapping brain activity. The small form-factor, flexible and light-weight package of only 400 mg allow implantation of multiple probes and chronic recording of large populations of neurons from several brain structures in freely moving animals.
The whole system is obviously more complex and the entire chain includes:
- A headstage: miniature and lightweight interface board essential to power supply the probe and communicate.
- An interface cable: to establish a power and data link between the headstage and PXIe acquisition board.
- A Custom PXIe Acquisition Module, capable to acquire data from up to 4 probes simultaneously. It enables probe configuration, data acquisition and data transmission to a PC. To communicate with the probes a full set of dedicated API (application programming interface) is used.
Role of the Verhaert consultant
Inside the R&D department Andrea’s activities are of different types and cover the whole chain described above. Starting from the end, the PXI system, one of his tasks is to test and discover bugs within the APIs (C++ development environment) and their compatibility with new versions of the system. Acting on the API allows the entire system to be tested, i.e. the PXI module, headstage and probe.
Regarding the latter, several versions are developed and must be tested as such. Within each version, there’s an ASIC and one of his main activities is to develop PCBs that can verify the correct functioning of the ASIC. The design is done through Altium and he developed the control of the board in Labview.
Andrea loves the variety of topics he can cover working at imec. New technologies increase the level of challenge of each topic and make everything very interesting. The multinational and partly university environment at imec makes him feel at ease, everyone is helpful. He finds working in this company and this team a real pleasure.
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- Competences: Electronics
- Client: Imec