CSI-independent Non-linear Signal Detection in Molecular Communications

Bin Li, Weisi Guo, Xiang Wang, Yansha Deng, Yueheng Lan, Chenglin Zhao, Arumugam Nallanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Molecular communications rely on diffusive propagation to transport information, which is attractive for a variety of nano-scale applications. Due to the long-tail channel response, spatial-temporal coding of information may lead to severe inter-symbol interference (ISI). Classical linear signal processing in wireless communications is usually operating with high complexity and high signal-to-noise ratios, whereas signal processing in molecular communication system requires operating in opposite conditions. In this work, we propose a novel signal processing paradigm inspired by the biological principle, which enables low-complexity signal detection in extremely noisy environments. We first propose a non-linear filter inspired by stochastic resonance, which is found in a variety of biological systems, and it can significantly improve the output SNR by converting noise to useful signals. Then, we design a non-coherent detection method, one which exploits the generally transient trend of observed signals (i.e. quick-rising and slow-decaying) rather than hidden channel state information (CSI), thus excluding CSI estimation and involving only summations. Implementation issues are also discussed, including parameters configuration and adaptive threshold. Numerical results show that the proposed bio-inspired scheme can improve the performance remarkably over classical approaches. Even compared with the optimal linear methods, the required SNR of the proposed scheme can be reduced by 7 dB, which reaffirms why it can be used in noisy biological environments. As the first attempt to design bio-inspired molecular signal detectors, the proposed non-linear processing paradigm may provide the great promise to the emerging nano-machine applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8922790
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2019


  • CSI-independent
  • Molecular communications
  • non-coherent detector
  • non-linear signal processing
  • stochastic resonance
  • transient feature


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