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F7ABBEMP - Electromagnetic Fields of Living Organisms

Code Completion Credits Range Language
F7ABBEMP KZ 2 1P+1L English
Grading of the course requires grading of the following courses:
Biological Signals (F7ABBBLS)
Medical Devices and Equipment I. (Diagnostic Devices) (F7ABBLPZ1)
Department of Biomedical Technology

Static and quasi-static electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic fields. Electrical and magnetic properties of biological tissues. Electrical, magnetic and electromagnetic stimulation in medicine. Anatomical and physiological bases of bioelectromagnetism. Bioelectric sources and conductive environment. Integral relations of electrodynamics of bioelectric fields, electrodynamic aspects of mathematical modeling of electrocardiography and electroencephalography. Topographic concept of bioelectrical and biomagnetic measurements. Methods and techniques of measurement. Human-robotic limb replacement interface.


One absence is allowed; in case of long-term illness, extra exercise must be arranged with the exercise leader.

Successful completion of the assessment test. The number of questions in the test is 10. All questions will have the same weight and the student will get up to 10 points for the answer. The minimum number of points for obtaining assessment is 50 and the final grade is given by the ECTS scale (max. 100 points).

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Static and quasi-static electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic fields - basic physical knowledge and equations, material relations, boundary conditions, validity of approximations. Introduction to bioelectromagnetic field. Application of electromagnetic field theory in biology. Anatomical and physiological bases of bioelectromagnetism.

2. Resting membrane potential. Physical expression of membrane potential - Nernst equation. Electrical model of the cell membrane. Electrical parameters of cells. Electrical properties of the cell membrane.

3. The essence of the formation of a resting membrane potential. Physical expression of MP - equation G-H-K. The essence of the emergence and spread of action potential. Projection of the action potential into the extracellular environment of the neuron. Methods and techniques of measuring the electrical activity of cells, measuring method „target lock“, measuring method „voltage lock“, bridge method.

4. Electrical, magnetic and electromagnetic stimulation of the organism. Transcranial magnetic, electrical and direct cortical stimulation, numerical methods for calculating the distribution of electric and magnetic fields.

5. Origin and spread of excitation through the heart muscle, cardiac conduction system. Theory of electrocardiographic leads, surface potentials. Definition of volume environment, modeling of sources and conductors, dipole field. Inverse problem. Mapping of electrical activity. Biomagnetic measurement.

Syllabus of tutorials:

1. Measurement of the amplitude of the magnetic field generated by Helmholtz coils with a Hall probe. Visualization of the magnetic field direction using a matrix of magnetic dipoles. Theory and experimental verification of the action of electric and magnetic forces on moving electrically charged particles using tubes.

2. Measurement of the speed of propagation of action potentials by the nerve fiber of earthworms using Backyard Brains preparations.

3. EMG measurement using Backyard Brains.

4. Numerical calculations of electrical and magnetic stimulations in Sim4Life and COMSOL Multiphysics.

5. Mapping the electrical activity of the heart. Measurement of surface potentials on the volunteer's chest using the Procardio device.

Study Objective:

The aim is to acquaint students with the general basics of electric and magnetic field theory, with the nature and significance of the formation of electromagnetic fields in the environment of a living organism and with the effects of electromagnetic fields on living organisms. To acquaint students with the methods of modeling these fields and their sources by direct and inverse methods, with modeling at different structural levels of the organism.

Study materials:

Compulsory literature:

[1] European Virtual Campus for Biomedical Engineering, EVICAB [online]. Finland, Helsinki. 2009. [cit. 04-05-2019] Available from:

ROSELLI, Robert J. and Kenneth R. DILLER. Biotransport: principles and applications. New York: Springer, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4419-8118-9

Recommended literature:

[1] TITOMIR, L. I., KNEPPO, P. Bioelectric and Biomagnetic fields, Boca Raton, CRC Press, 1994.

[2] MALMIVUO, J., PLONSEY, R. Bioelectromagnetism - Principles and Applications of Bioelectric and Biomagnetic Fields [online]. New York, Oxford University Press 1995. [cit. 14-05-2019] Available from:

[3] REILLY, J. Patrick. Applied bioelectricity: from electrical stimulation to electropathology. New York: Springer, c1998. ISBN 0-387-98407-0.

[4] Cell physiology sourcebook: essentials of membrane biophysics. Fourth edition. Editor Nick SPERELAKIS. Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-12-387738-3.

[5] AIDLEY, David J. The physiology of excitable cells. Fourth edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-521-57421-8.

The course is a part of the following study plans: