Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Massimiliano Pierobon

Second Advisor

Sasitharan Balasubramaniam

Date of this Version

Summer 7-28-2022

Document Type



Maina, R. (2022). Simulating Sub-threshold Communication Channels through Neurons[Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln].


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfilment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Computer Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Massimiliano Pierobon & Professor Sasitharan Balasubramaniam. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Richard Maina


Molecular Communication is an emerging paradigm with the potential to revolutionize the technology behind wearable and implantable devices and the broad range of functions they support, from tracking physical activity to medical diagnostics. This can be achieved through intra-body communication networks that take advantage of natural biological processes as a means of transmitting, propagating and receiving information. In this thesis we focus particularly on using the neuron as a means to facilitate information transfer for interconnected wearable or implantable devices through a technique known as sub-threshold electrical stimulation. We develop upon a prior work by introducing a linear model of the neuron that incorporates a noise model. This thesis seeks to define and evaluate a communication channel using this noisy linear model. The communication channel is tested with the basic modulation techniques amplitude shift keying, frequency shift keying and phase shift keying. Additionally, we define an operational bandwidth for this communication channel and find its maximum theoretical capacity. To verify our linear model we use the widely-used NEURON software to simulate the communication channel.

Adviser: Massimiliano Pierobon, Sasitharan Balasubramaniam