A comprehensive survey of recent advancements in molecular communication

Nariman Farsad, H. Birkan Yilmaz, Andrew Eckford, Chan Byoung Chae, Weisi Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

615 Citations (Scopus)


With much advancement in the field of nanotechnology, bioengineering, and synthetic biology over the past decade, microscales and nanoscales devices are becoming a reality. Yet the problem of engineering a reliable communication system between tiny devices is still an open problem. At the same time, despite the prevalence of radio communication, there are still areas where traditional electromagnetic waves find it difficult or expensive to reach. Points of interest in industry, cities, and medical applications often lie in embedded and entrenched areas, accessible only by ventricles at scales too small for conventional radio waves and microwaves, or they are located in such a way that directional high frequency systems are ineffective. Inspired by nature, one solution to these problems is molecular communication (MC), where chemical signals are used to transfer information. Although biologists have studied MC for decades, it has only been researched for roughly 10 year from a communication engineering lens. Significant number of papers have been published to date, but owing to the need for interdisciplinary work, much of the results are preliminary. In this survey, the recent advancements in the field of MC engineering are highlighted. First, the biological, chemical, and physical processes used by an MC system are discussed. This includes different components of the MC transmitter and receiver, as well as the propagation and transport mechanisms. Then, a comprehensive survey of some of the recent works on MC through a communication engineering lens is provided. The survey ends with a technology readiness analysis of MC and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7405285
Pages (from-to)1887-1919
Number of pages33
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work of H. B. Yilmaz and C.-B. Chae was supported by the MSIP, under the "IT Consilience Creative Program" (IITP-2015-R0346-15-1008), and by the Basic Science Research Program (2014R1A1A1002186), through the NRF of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1998-2012 IEEE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A comprehensive survey of recent advancements in molecular communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this