A unified view on beamformers for M/EEG source reconstruction

Britta U Westner, Sarang S. Dalal, Alexandre Gramfort, Vladimir Litvak, John C. Mosher, Robert Oostenveld, Jan-Mathijs Schoffelen

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Beamforming is a popular method for functional source reconstruction using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) data. Beamformers, which were first proposed for MEG more than two decades ago, have since been applied in hundreds of studies, demonstrating that they are a versatile and robust tool for neuroscience. However, certain characteristics of beamformers remain somewhat elusive and there currently does not exist a unified documentation of the mathematical underpinnings and computational subtleties of beamformers as implemented in the most widely used academic open source software packages for MEG analysis (Brainstorm, FieldTrip, MNE, and SPM). Here, we provide such documentation that aims at providing the mathematical background of beamforming and unifying the terminology. Beamformer implementations are compared across toolboxes and pitfalls of beamforming analyses are discussed. Specifically, we provide details on handling rank deficient covariance matrices, prewhitening, the rank reduction of forward fields, and on the combination of heterogeneous sensor types, such as magnetometers and gradiometers. The overall aim of this paper is to contribute to contemporary efforts towards higher levels of computational transparency in functional neuroimaging.

Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2022


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