Far‐field potentials in cylindrical and rectangular volume conductors

Daniel Dumitru, John C. King, William E. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The occurrence of a transient dipole is one method of producing a far‐field potential. This investigation qualitatively defines the characteristics of the near‐field and far‐field electrical potentials produced by a transient dipole in both cylindrical and rectangular volume conductors. Most body segments of electrophysiologic interest such as arms, legs, thorax, and neck are roughly cylindrical in shape. A centrally located dipole generator produces a nonzero equipotential region which is found to occur along the cylindrical wall at a distance from the dipole of approximately 1.4 times the cylinder's radius and 1.9 times the cylinder's radius for the center of the cylinder. This distance to the equipotential zone along the surface wall expands but remains less than 3.0 times the cylindrical radius when the dipole is eccentrically placed. The magnitude of the equipotential region resulting from an asymmetrically placed dipole remains identical to that when the dipole is centrally located. This behavior is found to be very similar in rectangular shallow conducting volumes that model a longitudinal slice of the cylinder, thus allowing a simple experimental model of the cylinder to be utilized. Amplitudes of the equipotential region are inversely proportional to the cylindrical or rectangular volume's cross‐sectional area at the location of dipolar imbalance. This study predicts that referential electrode montages, when placed at 3.0 times the radius or greater from a dipolar axially aligned far‐field generator in cylindrical homogeneous volume conductors, will record only equipotential far‐field effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-736
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle & Nerve
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1993


  • electromyography
  • evoked potentials
  • far‐field potentials
  • neural conduction
  • volume conductors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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