Real-time signal processing via chemical reactions for a microfluidic molecular communication system

Vivien Walter, Dadi Bi, Ali Salehi-Reyhani, Yansha Deng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Signal processing over the molecular domain is critical for analysing, modifying, and synthesising chemical signals in molecular communication systems. However, the lack of chemical signal processing blocks and the wide use of electronic devices to process electrical signals in existing molecular communication platforms can hardly meet the biocompatible, non-invasive, and size-miniaturised requirements of applications in various fields, e.g., medicine, biology, and environment sciences. To tackle this, here we design and construct a liquid-based microfluidic molecular communication platform for performing chemical concentration signal processing and digital signal transmission over distances. By specifically designing chemical reactions and microfluidic geometry, the transmitter of our platform is capable of shaping the emitted signals, and the receiver is able to threshold, amplify, and detect the chemical signals after propagation. By encoding bit information into the concentration of sodium hydroxide, we demonstrate that our platform can achieve molecular signal modulation and demodulation functionalities, and reliably transmit text messages over long distances. This platform is further optimised to maximise data rate while minimising communication error. The presented methodology for real-time chemical signal processing can enable the implementation of signal processing units in biological settings and then unleash its potential for interdisciplinary applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7188
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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