Molecular Sensing and Computing Systems

Sayed Ahmad Salehi, Hua Jiang, Marc D. Riedel, Keshab K. Parhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Advances in the field of synthetic biology have been key to demonstration of molecular computing systems in general and DNA in particular. This paper presents an overview of how continuous-time, discrete-time, and digital signal processing systems can be implemented using molecular reactions and DNA. In this paper, discrete-time systems refer to sampled signals with continuous signal amplitude. Signals that are sampled in discrete time steps with digital amplitude are referred to as digital signals. Delay elements in sampled signals are implemented using molecular reactions in the form of molecular transfer reactions. Completion of all phases of transfer reactions once corresponds to a computation cycle. These molecular systems can be implemented in a fully-synchronous, globally-synchronous locally-asynchronous or fully-asynchronous manner. The paper also presents molecular sensing systems where molecular reactions are used to implement analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and digital-to-analog converters (DACs). Molecular implementations of digital logic systems are presented. A complete example of the addition of two molecules using digital implementation is described where the concentrations of two molecules are converted to digital by two 3-bit ADCs, and the 4-bit output of the digital adder is converted to analog by a 4-bit DAC. This system is demonstrated using both molecular reactions and DNA. A brief comparison of molecular and electronic systems is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7423734
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.


  • DNA
  • Molecular systems
  • analog
  • analog-to-digital conversion
  • digital
  • digital signal processing
  • digital-to-analog conversion
  • logic
  • signal processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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