Non-Invasive Functional-Brain-Imaging with an OPM-based Magnetoencephalography System

PLoS One. 2020 Jan 24;15(1):e0227684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227684. eCollection 2020.


A non-invasive functional-brain-imaging system based on optically-pumped-magnetometers (OPM) is presented. The OPM-based magnetoencephalography (MEG) system features 20 OPM channels conforming to the subject's scalp. We have conducted two MEG experiments on three subjects: assessment of somatosensory evoked magnetic field (SEF) and auditory evoked magnetic field (AEF) using our OPM-based MEG system and a commercial MEG system based on superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). We cross validated the robustness of our system by calculating the distance between the location of the equivalent current dipole (ECD) yielded by our OPM-based MEG system and the ECD location calculated by the commercial SQUID-based MEG system. We achieved sub-centimeter accuracy for both SEF and AEF responses in all three subjects. Due to the proximity (12 mm) of the OPM channels to the scalp, it is anticipated that future OPM-based MEG systems will offer enhanced spatial resolution as they will capture finer spatial features compared to traditional MEG systems employing SQUIDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Brain Mapping / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment Design
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Functional Neuroimaging / instrumentation*
  • Functional Neuroimaging / methods
  • Functional Neuroimaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / instrumentation*
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods
  • Magnetoencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Optical Devices
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Superconductivity