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Swindale, Nicholas V.; Mitelut, Catalin; Murphy, Timothy H. and Spacek, Martin A. (2017): A Visual Guide to Sorting Electrophysiological Recordings Using 'SpikeSorter'. In: Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, No. 120, e55217

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Few stand-alone software applications are available for sorting spikes from recordings made with multi-electrode arrays. Ideally, an application should be user friendly with a graphical user interface, able to read data files in a variety of formats, and provide users with a flexible set of tools giving them the ability to detect and sort extracellular voltage waveforms from different units with some degree of reliability. Previously published spike sorting methods are now available in a software program, SpikeSorter, intended to provide electrophysiologists with a complete set of tools for sorting, starting from raw recorded data file and ending with the export of sorted spikes times. Procedures are automated to the extent this is currently possible. The article explains and illustrates the use of the program. A representative data file is opened, extracellular traces are filtered, events are detected and then clustered. A number of problems that commonly occur during sorting are illustrated, including the artefactual over-splitting of units due to the tendency of some units to fire spikes in pairs where the second spike is significantly smaller than the first, and over-splitting caused by slow variation in spike height over time encountered in some units. The accuracy of SpikeSorter's performance has been tested with surrogate ground truth data and found to be comparable to that of other algorithms in current development.

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