Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Electrical and Computer Engineering
An electrometer is a critical electrophysiology instrument used to generate minuscule currents for intracellular stimulation of biological neurons. An electrometer also enables simultaneous measurement of the neuron membrane voltage response. This device is necessary to perform accurate stimulation of neurons. However, the cost of commercial electrometers, around $5000, is prohibitive to many researchers, particularly at the high-school or introductory college level. A recent Western Michigan University graduate student, Lucas Essenburg, designed a basic electrometer for $210. His thesis proved that quality electrometers can be constructed for a fraction of the price of commercial-grade equipment.
This project focused on the improvement and commercial viability of Mr. Essenburg’s work. A full kit was designed which contains three printed circuit boards, two enclosures, electrical components, and a manual that described construction and trouble-shooting. The printed circuit boards were designed using KiCad, a free printed circuit board design program. This allows future groups to update the current design. The final product cost around $375 per kit. This price is significantly less than the price for commercial grade electrometers while still offering the same basic capabilities.
Johnson, Emily R., "Cost-Effective DIY Electrometer" (2020). Honors Theses. 3266.
Honors Thesis-Open Access