Kernel Flux: A whole-head 432-magnetometer optically-pumped magnetoencephalography (OP-MEG) system for brain activity imaging during natural human experiences

Ethan J. Pratt*, Micah Ledbetter, Ricardo Jiménez-Martínez, Benjamin Shapiro, Amelia Solon, Geoffrey Z. Iwata, Steve Garber, Jeff Gormley, Dakota Decker, David Delgadillo, Argyrios T. Dellis, Jake Phillips, Guhan Sundar, Jerry Leung, Jim Coyne, Mike McKinley, Gilbert Lopez, Scott Homan, Lucas Marsh, Mary ZhangVincent Maurice, Benjamin Siepser, Teresa Giovannoli, Brandon Leverett, Gabriel Lerner, Scott Seidman, Vicente Deluna, Kayla Wright-Freeman, Julian Kates-Harbeck, Teague Lasser, Hooman Mohseni, T. J. Sharp, Anthony Zorzos, Antonio H. Lara, Ali Kouhzadi, Alejandro Ojeda, Pronoy Chopra, Zachary Bednarke, Michael Henninger, Jamu K. Alford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations


MEG based on optically-pumped magnetometry (OP-MEG) operates with miniaturized, wearable insulation, in contrast to massive cryogenic dewars for SQUID-MEG, and allows placement of the sensors close to the scalp. This allows more natural head motion during data recording and localized signal quality comparable to, or surpassing, SQUID-MEG. However no OP-MEG system to date has offered full-head coverage with dense sensor packing, and existing systems - as with SQUID-MEG - require the subject to be sealed in a multilayer, passively-shielded vault in order to suppress ambient magnetic fields. Here we present Kernel Flux, which overcomes these limitations. Kernel Flux uses a collection of alkali vapor sensors in a unique array architecture to directly detect the magnetic fields generated by collective neural activity in the brain, while allowing for comfortable head motion. Each Kernel Flux OP-MEG system was designed from the ground up to work as an integrated system optimized around the user's experience, with relevance to natural home and office contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical and Quantum Sensing and Precision Metrology
EditorsSelim M. Shahriar, Jacob Scheuer
ISBN (Electronic)9781510642355
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical and Quantum Sensing and Precision Metrology 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Mar 6 2021Mar 11 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptical and Quantum Sensing and Precision Metrology 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Kernel
  • Kernel Flux
  • MEG
  • OP-MEG
  • OPM
  • alkali vapor cell
  • functional brain imaging
  • magnetoencephalography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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