Detection techniques for diffusion-based molecular communication

Ignacio Llatser, Albert Cabellos-Aparicio, Massimiliano Pierobon, Eduard Alarcon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Nanonetworks, the interconnection of nanosystems, are envisaged to greatly expand the applications of nanotechnology in the biomedical, environmental and industrial fields. However, it is still not clear how these nanosystems will communicate among them. This work considers a scenario of Diffusion-based Molecular Communication (DMC), a promising paradigm that has been recently proposed to implement nanonetworks. In a DMC network, transmitters encode information by the emission of molecules which diffuse throughout the medium, eventually reaching the receiver locations. In this scenario, a pulse-based modulation scheme is proposed and two techniques for the detection of the molecular pulses, namely, amplitude detection and energy detection, are compared. In order to evaluate the performance of DMC using both detection schemes, the most important communication metrics in each case are identified. Their analytical expressions are obtained and validated by simulation. Finally, the scalability of the obtained performance evaluation metrics in both detection techniques is compared in order to determine their suitability to particular DMC scenarios. Energy detection is found to be more suitable when the transmission distance constitutes a bottleneck in the performance of the network, whereas amplitude detection will allow achieving a higher transmission rate in the cases where the transmission distance is not a limitation. These results provide interesting insights which may serve designers as a guide to implement future DMC networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6708553
Pages (from-to)726-734
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Diffusion-based molecular communication
  • nanonetworks
  • pulse-based modulation
  • signal detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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