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We explain the process of designing optimized transcranial magnetic stimulation systems and outline a method for identifying optimal system parameters such as the number of turns, the capacitor size, the working voltage, and the size of the stimulation coil. The method combines field analysis, linear and nonlinear circuit analysis, and neural strength-duration response parameters. The method uses boundary-element analysis to predict the electric field as a function of depth, frequency, current, and excitation coil size. It then uses the field analysis to determine the inductance as a function of size and, in general, current when a saturable core is used. Circuit analysis allows these electric field computations to be indexed against system parameters, and optimized for total system energy and stimulation coil size. System optimizations depend on desired stimulation depth. A distinguishing feature of the method is that it inherently treats excitation frequency as an unknown to be determined from optimization.
Date of Publication: March 2005