Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Keynton, Robert S.

Author's Keywords

MicroElectrode Array; High spatial resolution; Signal Conditioning Microchip; Cardiac mapping; Surface Laplacian; Signal-to-noise ratio


Microelectrodes; Cardiography; Heart rate monitoring


Cardiac mapping has become an important area of research for understanding the mechanisms responsible for cardiac arrhythmias and the associated diseases. Current technologies for measuring electrical potentials on the surface of the heart are limited due to poor spatial resolution, localization issues, signal distortion due to noise, tissue damage, etc. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to design, develop, characterize and investigate a custom-made microfabricated, polyimide-based, flexible Thin-Film MicroElectrode Array (TFMEA) that is directly interfaced to an integrated Signal Conditioning Microchip (SCM) to record cardiac surface potentials on the cellular level to obtain high spatial resolution Surface Laplacian (SL) measurement. TFMEAs consisting of five fingers (Cover area = 4 mm2 and 16 mm2), which contained five individual microelectrodes placed in orthogonal directions (25-µm in diameter, 75-µm interelectrode spacing) to one another, were fabricated within a flexible polyimide substrate and capable of recording electrical activities of the heart on the order of individual cardiomyocytes. A custom designed SCM consisting of 25 channels of preamplification stages and second order band-pass filters was interfaced directly with the TFMEA in order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) characteristics of the high spatial resolution recording data. Metrology characterization using surface profilometry and high resolution Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) indicated the geometry of fabricated TFMEAs closely matched the design parameters < 0.4%). The DC resistances of the 25 individual micro electrodes were consistent (1.050 ± 0.026 kO). The simulation and testing results of the SCM verified the pre-amplification and filter stages met the designed gain and frequency parameters within 2.96%. The functionality of the TFMEA-SCM system was further characterized on a TX 151 conductive gel. The characterization results revealed that the system functionality was sufficient for high spatial cardiac mapping. In vivo testing results clearly demonstrated feasibility of using the TFMEA-SCM system to obtain cellular level SL measurements with significantly improved the SNRs during normal sinus rhythm and Ventricular Fibrillation (VF). Local activation times were detected via evaluating the zero crossing of the SL electro grams, which coincided with the gold standard (dV/dt)min of unipolar electro grams within ± 1%. The in vivo transmembrane current densities calculated from the high spatial resolution SLs were found to be significantly higher than the transmembrane current densities computed using electrodes with higher interelectrode spacings. In conclusion, the custom-made TFMEASCM systems demonstrated feasibility as a tool for measuring cardiac potentials and to perform high resolution cardiac mapping experiments.