Chemical reactions-based detection mechanism for molecular communications

Trang Ngoc Cao, Vahid Jamali, Wayan Wicke, Phee Lep Yeoh, Nikola Zlatanov, Jamie Evans, Robert Schober

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


In molecular communications, the direct detection of signaling molecules may be challenging due to the lack of suitable sensors and interference from co-existing substances in the environment. Motivated by examples in nature, we investigate an indirect detection mechanism using chemical reactions between the signaling molecules and a molecular probe to produce an easy-to-measure product at the receiver. The underlying reaction-diffusion equations that describe the concentrations of the reactant and product molecules in the system are non-linear and coupled, and cannot be solved in closed-form. To analyze these molecule concentrations, we develop an efficient iterative algorithm by discretizing the time variable and solving for the space variables in each time step. We also derive insightful closed-form solutions for a special case. The accuracy of the proposed algorithm is verified by particle-based simulations. Our results show that the concentration of the product molecules has a similar characteristic over time as the concentration of the signaling molecules. We analyze the bit error rate (BER) for a threshold detector and highlight that significant improvements in the BER can be achieved by carefully choosing the molecular probe and optimizing the detection threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC) 2020
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings
EditorsSong Chong, Sunghyun Choi, Zhisheng Niu
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728131061
ISBN (Print)9781728131078
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventIEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference 2020 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Duration: 25 May 202028 May 2020 (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameIEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, WCNC
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISSN (Print)1525-3511
ISSN (Electronic)1525-3511


ConferenceIEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleWCNC 2020
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of (South)
Internet address

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