Complete electrode model in EEG: Relationship and differences to the point electrode model

S. Pursiainen*, F. Lucka, Carsten H. Wolters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In electroencephalography (EEG) source analysis, a primary current density generated by the neural activity of the brain is reconstructed from external electrode voltage measurements. This paper focuses on accurate and effective simulations of EEG through the complete electrode model (CEM). The CEM allows for the incorporation of the electrode size, shape and effective contact impedance into the forward simulation. Both neural currents in the brain and shunting currents between the electrodes and the skin can affect the measured voltages in the CEM. The goal of this study was to investigate the CEM by comparing it with the point electrode model (PEM), which is the current standard electrode model for EEG. We used a three-dimensional, realistic and high-resolution finite element head model as the reference computational domain in the comparison. The PEM could be formulated as a limit of the CEM, in which the effective impedance of each electrode goes to infinity and the size tends to zero. Numerical results concerning the forward and inverse errors and electrode voltage strengths with different impedances and electrode sizes are presented. Based on the results obtained, limits for extremely high and low impedance values of the shunting currents are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1017
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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