The development of calibration and adaptive filtering procedures for neuromagnetic studies of human visual function
This thesis first considers the calibration and signal processing requirements of a neuromagnetometer for the measurement of human visual function. Gradiometer calibration using straight wire grids is examined and optimal grid configurations determined, given realistic constructional tolerances. Simulations show that for gradiometer balance of 1:104 and wire spacing error of 0.25mm the achievable calibration accuracy of gain is 0.3%, of position is 0.3mm and of orientation is 0.6°. Practical results with a 19-channel 2nd-order gradiometer based system exceed this performance. The real-time application of adaptive reference noise cancellation filtering to running-average evoked response data is examined. In the steady state, the filter can be assumed to be driven by a non-stationary step input arising at epoch boundaries. Based on empirical measures of this driving step an optimal progression for the filter time constant is proposed which improves upon fixed time constant filter performance. The incorporation of the time-derivatives of the reference channels was found to improve the performance of the adaptive filtering algorithm by 15-20% for unaveraged data, falling to 5% with averaging. The thesis concludes with a neuromagnetic investigation of evoked cortical responses to chromatic and luminance grating stimuli. The global magnetic field power of evoked responses to the onset of sinusoidal gratings was shown to have distinct chromatic and luminance sensitive components. Analysis of the results, using a single equivalent current dipole model, shows that these components arise from activity within two distinct cortical locations.