Chemical Reactions-Based Microfluidic Transmitter and Receiver Design for Molecular Communication

Dadi Bi, Yansha Deng, Massimiliano Pierobon, Arumugam Nallanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The design of communication systems capable of processing and exchanging information through molecules and chemical processes is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field, which holds the promise to revolutionize how we realize computing and communication devices. While molecular communication (MC) theory has had major developments in recent years, more practical aspects in designing components capable of MC functionalities remain less explored. This paper designs chemical reactions-based microfluidic devices to realize binary concentration shift keying (BCSK) modulation and demodulation functionalities. Considering existing MC literature on information transmission via molecular pulse modulation, we propose a microfluidic MC transmitter design, which is capable of generating continuously predefined pulse-shaped molecular concentrations upon rectangular triggering signals to achieve the modulation function. We further design a microfluidic MC receiver capable of demodulating a received signal to a rectangular output signal using a thresholding reaction and an amplifying reaction. Our chemical reactions-based microfluidic molecular communication system is reproducible and its parameters can be optimized. More importantly, it overcomes the slow-speed, unreliability, and non-scalability of biological processes in cells. To reveal design insights, we also derive the theoretical signal responses for our designed microfluidic transmitter and receiver, which further facilitate the transmitter design optimization. Our theoretical results are validated via simulations performed through the COMSOL Multiphysics finite element solver. We demonstrate the predefined nature of the generated pulse and the demodulated rectangular signal together with their dependence on design parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9090868
Pages (from-to)5590-5605
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Molecular communication
  • chemical circuits
  • chemical reaction
  • genetic circuits
  • microfluidic receiver
  • microfluidic transmitter
  • microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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