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Physiol Meas. 2010 Oct;31(10):S183-98. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/31/10/S03. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

Insulating electrodes: a review on biopotential front ends for dielectric skin-electrode interfaces.

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  • 1LEICI-Departamento de Electrotecnia, Universidad Nacional de La Plata and Consejo de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), CC 91 (1900) La Plata, Argentina. spinelli@ing.unlp.edu.ar

Abstract

Insulating electrodes, also known as capacitive electrodes, allow acquiring biopotentials without galvanic contact with the body. They operate with displacement currents instead of real charge currents, and the electrolytic electrode-skin interface is replaced by a dielectric film. The use of insulating electrodes is not the end of electrode interface problems but the beginning of new ones: coupling capacitances are of the order of pF calling for ultra-high input impedance amplifiers and careful biasing, guarding and shielding techniques. In this work, the general requirements of front ends for capacitive electrodes are presented and the different contributions to the overall noise are discussed and estimated. This analysis yields that noise bounds depend on features of the available devices as current and voltage noise, but the final noise level also depends on parasitic capacitances, requiring a careful shield and printed circuit design. When the dielectric layer is placed on the skin, the present-day amplifiers allow achieving noise levels similar to those provided by wet electrodes. Furthermore, capacitive electrode technology allows acquiring high quality ECG signals through thin clothes. A prototype front end for capacitive electrodes was built and tested. ECG signals were acquired with these electrodes in direct contact with the skin and also through cotton clothes 350 µm thick. They were compared with simultaneously acquired signals by means of wet electrodes and no significant differences were observed between both output signals.

PMID:
20834109
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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