The SyncBox is used to synchronize the sampling rate of the BrainAmp MR amplifier with the MR scanner clock system. The aim is to achieve phase locking between the two clock systems to facilitate optimum correction of scanner-related artifacts in the EEG data.
The SyncBox system comprises the SyncBox Main Unit and the SyncBox Scanner Interface. The Main Unit distributes the sync signal to the BrainAmp USB 2 Adapter (BUA), which drives the sampling frequency, and to the computer to allow online synchronization validation. The Scanner Interface galvanically isolates the Main Unit from the MR scanner to prevent any impact on the scanner clock system (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Setup with (left to right) MR Scanner, SyncBox Scanner Interface Duo, SyncBox Main Unit, BUA and BrainAmp(s)
In many cases, the clock output of a MR scanner connects electrically via a BNC cable. This is how the Scanner Interface connects for now. However, in other cases, you will also find an optical MR clock output, which requires a fiber optic cable to be connected. This can soon be used with the new Scanner Interface Duo (available from fall 2022), which offers both, electrical and optical sync signal input (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: SyncBox Scanner Interface Duo input connectors
The input signal can be a square or sine wave at up to 30 MHz for both inputs. Generally speaking, both options will work just fine, but optical cables give you an even higher galvanic isolation between the MR clock system and the EEG sync inputs. Sometimes it will simply be a matter of which MR clock output option your specific MR scanner offers. So if you ever wondered how you could get the MR Scanner’s optical sync-out connected to the EEG, or if you simply want to learn more about the SyncBox setup, please don’t hesitate to contact us!