Through this catalytic planning visit, Prof. Eylem Ekici of Ohio State University (OSU) will initiate cooperative research with partners in Spain to examine nano-scale communication systems. Spanish counterparts, led by Prof. Albert Cabellos with the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, have expertise in molecular communication in nanoscale networks and are based at the Nanonetworking Center (N3Cat) in Catalonia. Their strengths complement those of the OSU research team in carbon nanotube antennas. Together, the goal is to refine and develop plans for a cooperative research project to build hybrid nano-communication networks that combine desirable characteristics observed in electromagnetic wave information transmission (RF-based) and in molecular diffusion information transmission. If successful, their efforts may lead to innovative design approaches to nano-scale communication components and networks that are capable of acting together to handle complex tasks.
Contributions to development of new communication paradigms with integrated nano/molecular subsystems are among the broader impacts anticipated from the planned long-term collaboration. Results may lead to improved nanosystems with future applications in environmental and biomedical situations where nanodevices provide an interface between biological phenomena and electronic devices. Furthermore, because graduate students will be part of this US-Spanish collaboration, they are expected to benefit from interdisciplinary course work inspired by the team's latest findings and from their early career introduction to international research in the emerging field of communications engineering.
The project aims to foster an international collaboration between the PIs and their research groups at The Ohio State University in the USA and their collaborators at the Nanonetworking Center in Catalonia (N3Cat, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya) in Spain. The express intent of this international collaboration is an investigation of the challenges and opportunities associated with nanonetworks that employ RF and molecular communication subsystems. The technical objective of project is the development of new communication paradigms that integrate RF and molecular communication principles into the same subsystem rather than using them in an isolated manner. Nanonetworks consist of devices at nanometer scale that can communicate with each other and the external devices. They are expected to boost the range of applications of nanotechnology, which is at the forefront of many areas, including health care, bio-hybrid implants, food and water quality control, defense systems against biological and chemical attacks, air pollution control, and biodegradation. Based on our initial investigations, we developed an innovative and coherent framework that, with further investigations, is expected to enable these and other applications for the benefit of the humanity. As an immediate impact, the proposed activity will educate young researchers in this newly emerging field with multi-disciplinary roots. The graduate students involved in this activity will be involved in active investigations into development of innovative nano-scale communication systems and networks incorporating RF and molecular communication principles. This project has enabled us to achieve the following: 1. We introduced radio frequency based nano-scale receiver, based on a forest of carbon nanotube (CNT) antennas packaged together. These devices are capable of reducing the scale of communication devices from centimeter range to millimeter range at comparable data rates. The outcomes of our investigations have been published in IEEE Wireless Communications. 2. In collaboration with our partners in Spain, we developed proposals seeking funding to further our investigations in this area. This highly cross-disciplinary proposal, involving experts in electrical engineering and physics, is ready for submission.