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Title: Wireless graphene-based electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor including multiple physiological measurement system
Authors: Celik, Numan
Advisors: Balachandran, W
Boulgouris, N
Keywords: Body area network;Wearable sensing;Telemedicine;E-health or mobile health;Remote cardiac monitoring
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: In this thesis, a novel graphene (GN) based electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor is designed, constructed and tested to validate the concept of coating GN, which is a highly electrically conductive material, on Ag substrates of conventional electrodes. The background theory, design, experiments and results for the proposed GN-based ECG sensor are also presented. Due to the attractive electrical and physical characteristics of graphene, a new ECG sensor was investigated by coating GN onto itself. The main focus of this project was to examine the effect of GN on ECG monitoring and to compare its performance with conventional methods. A thorough investigation into GN synthesis on Ag substrate was conducted, which was accompanied by extensive simulation and experimentation. A GN-enabled ECG electrode was characterised by Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy along with electrical resistivity and conductivity measurements. The results obtained from the GN characteristic experimentation on Raman spectroscopy, detected a 2D peak in the GN-coated electrode, which was not observed with the conventional Ag/AgCl electrode. SEM characterisation also revealed that a GN coating smooths the surface of the electrode and hence, improves the skin-to electrode contact. Furthermore, a comparison regarding the electrical conductivity calculation was made between the proposed GN-coated electrodes and conventional Ag/AgCl ones. The resistance values obtained were 212.4 Ω and 28.3 Ω for bare and GN-coated electrodes, respectively. That indicates that the electrical conductivity of GN-based electrodes is superior and hence, it is concluded that skin-electrode contact impedance can be lowered by their usage. Additional COMSOL simulation was carried out to observe the effect of an electrical field and surface charge density using GN-coated and conventional Ag/AgCl electrodes on a simplified human skin model. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the addition of electrical field and surface charge capabilities and hence, coating GN on Ag substrates was validated through this simulation. This novel ECG electrode was tested with various types of electrodes on ten different subjects in order to analyse the obtained ECG signals. The experimental results clearly showed that the proposed GN-based electrode exhibits the best performance in terms of ECG signal quality, detection of critical waves of ECG morphology (P-wave, QRS complex and T-wave), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with 27.0 dB and skin-electrode contact impedance (65.82 kΩ at 20 Hz) when compared to those obtained by conventional a Ag/AgCl electrode. Moreover, this proposed GN-based ECG sensor was integrated with core body temperature (CBT) sensor in an ear-based device, which was designed and printed using 3D technology. Subsequently, a finger clipped photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor was integrated with the two-sensors in an Arduino based data acquisition system, which was placed on the subject’s arm to enable a wearable multiple physiological measurement system. The physiological information of ECG and CBT was obtained from the ear of the subject, whilst the PPG signal was acquired from the finger. Furthermore, this multiple physiological signal was wirelessly transmitted to the smartphone to achieve continuous and real-time monitoring of physiological signals (ECG, CBT and PPG) on a dedicated app developed using the Java programming language. The proposed system has plenty of room for performance improvement and future development will make it adaptable, hence being more convenient for the users to implement other applications than at present.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Electronic and Computer Engineering
Dept of Electronic and Computer Engineering Theses

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