A Novel Electric Design for Electromagnetic Stimulation—The Slinky Coil

Chunye Ren, Peter P. Tarjan, Dejan B. Popovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A novel coil design for inductive electromagnetic stimulation of neural cells has been simulated and experimentally tested. This coil improves the focal effect of a magnetic stimulator, and it reduces its inductance, hence the efficiency of the system is improved. The basic structure of the device is derived from the popular 'Slinky' toy. The actual device is formed by winding different numbers of loops forming a helical coil on a half torus. The loops are bunched at the axis of the torus. The coil, due to its geometry, generates a unique distribution of eddy currents in nearby tissues which is favorable compared to a solenoid type stimulator. This renders the Slinky coil more selective than conventional coils used for magnetic stimulation. The distribution of eddy currents was analyzed using Matlab, following Faraday's Law of Induction. Improved focality permits the current through the coil to be reduced for the same effect. In addition, the reduced inductance of the Slinky coil decreases the power requirement; thus, the improved efficiency of the system may allow the generation of bursts of pulses, and expand the utilization of the system to possible functional activation of certain neuro-muscular structures when peripheral nerves are stimulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-925
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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