Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


Robert B. Szlavik


The characterization of postsynaptic potentials, in terms of neurotransmitter receptor activation, is of clinical significance because information associated with receptor activation can be used in the diagnosis and study of neurological disorders. Single-unit recordings provide a method of measuring postsynaptic potentials in neurons using a microelectrode system, but yield no detailed information regarding the neurotransmitter receptors that contribute to the potential. To determine the types of neurotransmitter receptors that result in a compound postsynaptic potential from a microelectrode reading, decomposition of the potential is necessary. In this work, a perturbation-based decomposition method developed by R. Szlavik is evaluated for this application, and compared to a generalized Fourier series approach. The resultant estimator is valid for decomposition of multiple-receptor compound postsynaptic potentials as well as single-receptor compound postsynaptic potentials. The estimator also yields a satisfactory decomposition of experimental postsynaptic potential data found in the literature.