Spike detection, characterization, and discrimination using feature analysis software written in LabVIEW

C. M. Stewart, S. D. Newlands, A. A. Perachio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Rapid and accurate discrimination of single units from extracellular recordings is a fundamental process for the analysis and interpretation of electrophysiological recordings. We present an algorithm that performs detection, characterization, discrimination, and analysis of action potentials from extracellular recording sessions. The program was entirely written in LabVIEW (National Instruments), and requires no external hardware devices or a priori information about action potential shapes. Waveform events are detected by scanning the digital record for voltages that exceed a user-adjustable trigger. Detected events are characterized to determine nine different time and voltage levels for each event. Various algebraic combinations of these waveform features are used as axis choices for 2-D Cartesian plots of events. The user selects axis choices that generate distinct clusters. Multiple clusters may be defined as action potentials by manually generating boundaries of arbitrary shape. Events defined as action potentials are validated by visual inspection of overlain waveforms. Stimulus-response relationships may be identified by selecting any recorded channel for comparison to continuous and average cycle histograms of binned unit data. The algorithm includes novel aspects of feature analysis and acquisition, including higher acquisition rates for electrophysiological data compared to other channels. The program confirms that electrophysiological data may be discriminated with high-speed and efficiency using algebraic combinations of waveform features derived from high-speed digital records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Electrophysiology
  • LabVIEW
  • Spike discrimination
  • Stimulus-response analysis
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Spike detection, characterization, and discrimination using feature analysis software written in LabVIEW'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this