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IEEE Trans Nanobioscience. 2014 Sep;13(3):169-97. doi: 10.1109/TNB.2014.2316674. Epub 2014 Apr 22.

Molecular communication among biological nanomachines: a layered architecture and research issues.


Molecular communication is an emerging communication paradigm for biological nanomachines. It allows biological nanomachines to communicate through exchanging molecules in an aqueous environment and to perform collaborative tasks through integrating functionalities of individual biological nanomachines. This paper develops the layered architecture of molecular communication and describes research issues that molecular communication faces at each layer of the architecture. Specifically, this paper applies a layered architecture approach, traditionally used in communication networks, to molecular communication, decomposes complex molecular communication functionality into a set of manageable layers, identifies basic functionalities of each layer, and develops a descriptive model consisting of key components of the layer for each layer. This paper also discusses open research issues that need to be addressed at each layer. In addition, this paper provides an example design of targeted drug delivery, a nanomedical application, to illustrate how the layered architecture helps design an application of molecular communication. The primary contribution of this paper is to provide an in-depth architectural view of molecular communication. Establishing a layered architecture of molecular communication helps organize various research issues and design concerns into layers that are relatively independent of each other, and thus accelerates research in each layer and facilitates the design and development of applications of molecular communication.

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