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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T000937/1
Title: Microfluidic Molecular Communications: Design, Theory, and Manufacture
Principal Investigator: Deng, Dr Y
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Elvesys Inst Electrical & Electronics Eng - IEEE Mediwise Ltd
Technical University of Darmstadt Wireless World Research Forum
Department: Informatics
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 July 2020 Ends: 30 April 2023 Value (£): 269,351
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Digital Signal Processing
RF & Microwave Technology Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 Jul 2019 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel July 2019 Deferred
06 Nov 2019 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel November 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Molecular communication (MC) provides a way for nano/microdevices to communicate information over distance via chemical signals in nanometer to micrometer scale environments. The successful realization of MC will allow its future main applications, including drug delivery and environmental monitoring. The main hindrance for the MC application stands in the lack of nano/micro-devices capable of processing the time-varying chemical concentration signals in the biochemical environment. One promising solution is to design and implement programmable digital and analog building blocks, as they are fundamental building blocks for the signal processing at MC transceivers. With two existing approaches in realizing these building blocks, namely, biological circuits and chemical circuits, synthesizing biological circuits faces challenges such as slow speed, unreliability, and non-scalability, which motivates us to design novel chemical circuits-based functions for rapid prototyping and testing communication systems.

Conventional chemical circuits designs are mainly based on chemical reaction networks (CRNs) to achieve various concentration transformation during the steady state from the input to the output with all chemical reactions occurring in same "point" location. This kind of design does not fit for the time-varying signals in communication system due to that the temporal information can be invisible to even state-of-the-art molecular sensors with high chemical specificity that respond only to the total amount of the signaling molecules. Thus, this project aims to design the chemical reaction-based microfluidic MC prototypes with time-varying chemical signal processing functionalities, including modulation and

demodulation, encoding and decoding, emission and detection. This also facilitates the microfluidic drug delivery prototype design and cancer cell on chip testing under time-varying drug concentration signal.

This project has the ambitious vision to develop novel time-varying chemical concentration signal processing methodology for microfluidic MC and microfluidic drug delivery. In the long run,

1) our microfluidic MC results will enable the implementation of MC functionality into nanoscale machines, by downsizing the proposed components through the utilization of nanomaterials with fluidic properties, and by translating the functional chemistry into biological circuit designs;

2) our microfluidic drug delivery results will revolutionize the conventional drug delivery testing approach by enabling ICT technologies for novel in-vitro microfluidics for drug delivery, allowing rapid measurement of therapeutic effect, toxicology, to reduce development costs and minimize the use of animal models.

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