EE444/544: Nanoscale Communication Networks


Nanotechnology is providing a new set of tools to the engineering community to design and manufacture nanoscale components with unprecedented functionalities. The integration of several of these nano-components into a single device will enable the development of advanced nanomachines. Nanonetworks, i.e., networks of nanomachines, will enable a plethora of applications in the biomedical, environmental, industrial and military fields. These applications range from intra-body wireless nanosensor networks for advanced health monitoring systems to terabit wireless network-on-chip for ultra-high-performance computer architectures. In this course, the fundamentals of nanoscale machine communication and networking will be presented, with a special emphasis on graphene-enabled wireless communication and biologically-inspired molecular communication. Each of these alternatives will be described by following a bottom-up approach, i.e., first, an overview of its specific enabling device technology will be presented and, second, the state of the art in terms of communication channel modeling, physical layer techniques (e.g., modulation, coding, transmission) and link layer solutions (e.g., medium access control, error control) will be described. In addition to the theoretical lectures, students will be assigned independent group projects focused in the different core areas of the field. By the end of the semester, students will write a technical report and orally present their work in class. This course will provide the students with the necessary knowledge to work in a cutting-edge research field, at the intersection of nanotechnologies and information and communication technologies.

Objectives and Expected Outcomes

  • To understand the different alternatives for communication among nanomachines, whether these are nanomaterial-based devices or genetically modified cells
  • To identify the main differences between nanonetworks and classical wireless networks and to leverage those to develop new communication techniques for nanonetworks
  • To become acquainted with one of the cutting-edge research topics at the intersection of nanotechnologies and information and communication technologies

Class Contents

  1. Introduction to Nanoscale Communication Networks
  2. Design and Fabrication of Nano-devices and Nanomachines
  3. Nano-electromagnetic Communication Networks
  4. Biologically-inspired Molecular Communications Networks


Background knowledge in wireless communication and networking is recommended. Most of the necessary concepts from physics, nanoelectronics, chemistry, and biology, as well as from systems and communication engineering, will be provided during the lectures, to accommodate students with different backgrounds, and let them benefit from a truly interdisciplinary approach.

Course Organization

  • Research Project:
    • To be conducted in groups of 4 students
    • Each group will choose a specific topic from a tailored list of relevant challenges for nanoscale communication and networking
      • The breath and depth of the project will vary according to the students status (undergraduate/graduate)
    • Students should elaborate a technical report by the end of the semester
      • In extraordinary cases, the publication of the technical report will be pursued
    • In addition, students will present their work in class
  • Homework Assignments:
    • 2 independent sets of problems
    • To be solved invidually
  • Final Exam:
    • Open-book (date to be determined)

Grade Distribution

Project: 55%
Homework Assignments: 20%
Final Exam: 20%
Class Participation and Professionalism: 5%

Course Materials

All the class materials will be able on UBLearns.
Text Book (recommended, not mandatory):

  • J. M. Jornet and I. F. Akyildiz, "Fundamentals of Electromagnetic Nanonetworks in the Terahertz Band," Foundations and Trends in Networking, Now Publishers Inc., November 2013. [More Details]
  • M. Pierobon and I. F. Akyildiz, "Fundamentals of Diffusion-Based Molecular Communication in Nanonetworks," Foundations and Trends in Networking, Now Publishers Inc., April 2013. [More Details]


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