In this letter, we investigate the fundamental limits on how the interspike time of a neuron oscillator can be perturbed by the application of a bounded external control input (a current stimulus) with zero net electric charge accumulation.We use phase models to study the dynamics of neurons and derive charge-balanced controls that achieve the minimum and maximum interspike times for a given bound on the control amplitude. Our derivation is valid for any arbitrary shape of the phase response curve and for any value of the given control amplitude bound. In addition, we characterize the change in the structures of the charge-balanced time-optimal controls with the allowable control amplitude. We demonstrate the applicability of the derived optimal control laws by applying them to mathematically ideal and experimentally observed neuron phase models, including thewidely studied Hodgkin-Huxley phase model, and by verifying them with the corresponding original full state-space models. This work addresses a fundamental problem in the field of neural control and provides a theoretical investigation to the optimal control of oscillatory systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2223-2246
Number of pages24
JournalNeural Computation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


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