IAF neuron example with current generator

A DC current is injected into the neuron using a current generator device. The membrane potential as well as the spiking activity are recorded by corresponding devices.

It can be observed how the current charges the membrane, a spike is emitted, the neuron becomes absolute refractory, and finally starts to recover.

First, we import all necessary modules for simulation and plotting

import nest
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

Second the function build_network is defined to build the network and return the handles of the spike_recorder and the voltmeter. The function takes the simulation resolution as argument

The function first resets the simulation kernel and sets the number of threads and the simulation resolution. The iaf_psc_alpha neuron is created and the handle is stored in the variable neuron. The status of the neuron is changed so it receives an external current. Next a voltmeter and a spike_recorder are created and their handles stored in the variables vm and sr respectively.

The voltmeter and spike recorder are then connected to the neuron. Connect takes the device and neuron handles as input. The voltmeter is connected to the neuron and the neuron to the spike recorder because the neuron sends spikes to the recorder and the voltmeter ‘observes’ the neuron.

def build_network(dt):

    nest.local_num_threads = 1
    nest.resolution = dt

    neuron = nest.Create('iaf_psc_alpha')
    neuron.I_e = 376.0

    vm = nest.Create('voltmeter')
    sr = nest.Create('spike_recorder')

    nest.Connect(vm, neuron)
    nest.Connect(neuron, sr)

    return vm, sr

The neuron is simulated for three different resolutions and then the voltage trace is plotted

for dt in [0.1, 0.5, 1.0]:
    print(f"Running simulation with dt={dt:.2f}")
    vm, sr = build_network(dt)


The network is simulated using Simulate, which takes the desired simulation time in milliseconds and advances the network state by this amount of time. During simulation, the spike_recorder counts the spikes of the target neuron and the total number is read out at the end of the simulation period.

The values of the voltage recorded by the voltmeter are read out and the values for the membrane potential are stored in potential and the corresponding times in the times array

potentials = vm.get('events', 'V_m')
times = vm.get('events', 'times')

Using the matplotlib library the voltage trace is plotted over time

plt.plot(times, potentials, label=f"dt={dt:.2f}")
print(f"  Number of spikes: {sr.n_events}")

Finally the axis are labelled and a legend is generated

    plt.xlabel("time (ms)")
    plt.ylabel("V_m (mV)")


Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 0.000 seconds)

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