LFPy Tutorial

This tutorial will guide you through the first steps with LFPy. It is based on example1.py in the examples folder.

Let us start by importing LFPy, as well as numpy

import LFPy
import numpy as np

Then we define a dictionary which describes the properties of the cell we want to simulate

cell_parameters = {
    'morphology' : 'morphologies/L5_Mainen96_LFPy.hoc',     # Mainen&Sejnowski, Nature, 1996
    'tstartms' : -100.,                 # start time of simulation, recorders start at t=0
    'tstopms' : 200.,                   # stop simulation at 200 ms.

The only mandatory entry is morphology, which should point to a hoc file specifying the neuron’s morphology. Here we also set the start and end times (in milliseconds). Much more options are available (such as specifying passive parameters of the cell or adding custom NEURON mechanisms), but for now we leave them at default values.

The Cell object is created using

cell = LFPy.Cell(**cell_parameters)

Let us now add a synapse. Again, we define the synapse parameters first

synapse_parameters = {
    'idx' : cell.get_closest_idx(x=0., y=0., z=800.),
    'e' : 0.,                   # reversal potential
    'syntype' : 'ExpSyn',       # synapse type
    'tau' : 2.,                 # syn. time constant
    'weight' : .1,              # syn. weight

and create a Synapse object connected to our cell

synapse = LFPy.Synapse(cell, **synapse_parameters)

Let us assume we want the synapse to be activated by a single spike at t = 50ms. We have to pass the spike time to the synapse using


We now have a cell with a synapse, and we can run the simulation


Note the rec_imem=True argument, this means that the transmembrane currents will be saved - we need the currents to calculate the extracellular potential.

The final element is the extracellular recording electrode. Again, we start by defining the parameters

electrode_parameters = {
    'sigma' : 0.3,   # extracellular conductivity
    'x' : np.array([0]),
    'y' : np.array([0]),
    'z' : np.array([50])

Here we define a single electrode contact at x = 0, y = 0, z = 50 microns, but a whole array of electrodes can be specified by passing array arguments.

The electrode (recording from cell) is created using

electrode = LFPy.RecExtElectrode(cell, **electrode_parameters)

Finally, we calculate the extracellular potential at the specified electrode location


The resulting LFP is stored in electrode.LFP.

More examples

More examples of LFPy usage are provided in the “trunk/examples” folder in the source code release, displaying different usage scenarios;

The examples rely on files present inside the examples folder, such as morphology files and .mod files.

The easiest way of accessing all of these files is cloning the examples directory using git (https://git-scm.com):

git clone https://github.com/LFPy/LFPy.git
cd LFPy/examples