Capacities and Optimal Input Distributions for Particle-Intensity Channels

Nariman Farsad, Will Chuang, Andrea Goldsmith, Christos Komninakis, Muriel Medard, Christopher Rose, Lieven Vandenberghe, Emily E. Wesel, Richard D. Wesel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This work introduces the particle-intensity channel (PIC) as a new model for molecular communication systems that includes imperfections at both transmitter and receiver and provides a new characterization of the capacity limits as well as properties of the optimal (capacity-achieving) input distributions for such channels. In the PIC, the transmitter encodes information, in symbols of a given duration, based on the probability of particle release, and the receiver detects and decodes the message based on the number of particles detected during the symbol interval. In this channel, the transmitter may be unable to control precisely the probability of particle release, and the receiver may not detect all the particles that arrive. We model this channel using a generalization of the binomial channel and show that the capacity-achieving input distribution for this channel always has mass points at probabilities of particle release of zero and one. To find the capacity-achieving input distributions, we develop a novel and efficient algorithm we call dynamic assignment Blahut-Arimoto (DAB). For diffusive particle transport, we also derive the conditions under which the input with two mass points is capacity-achieving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9247283
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Molecular communication
  • channel capacity
  • channel models
  • optimal input
  • optimization
  • particle intensity channel


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