ScaLeITN: Scalable Localization-enabled In-body
Terahertz Nanonetwork

Nanotechnology is expected to enable molecular-level detection of viruses and bacterias in a human body, high-precision drug delivery, targeted monitoring (e.g., inside of an eye), cellular-level cancer detection, and nano-surgery. One of the most promising enablers for communication in such scenario is to utilize electromagnetic signals in the terahertz (THz) frequencies. This is because the communication in these frequencies allows for tiny transceiver and antenna form-factors, the prime requirement for in-body nanodevices. However, the THz band has its peculiarities, primarily pertaining to high attenuation and spreading loss. Combined with constrained powering of nanonodes relying only on energy harvesting, communication between the in-body nanodevices and the outside world is all but clear. The challenges include mitigating the high loss and attenuation of in-body THz propagation, maintaining a low energy profile and scalability of nanonetworks, and enabling localization of the nanonodes - a requirement for the majority of the envisioned healthcare application.

Project Objectives

Objective 1

For enabling the above-mentioned applications, tiny nano-machines comprising an in-body nanonetwork (IBNN) will flow through the body, take actions at certain locations or upon commands, and communicate results to a more powerful body-area network (BAN). Due to their constrained energy and tiny form factors, these nanodevices are expected to be passively flowing, i.e., without the possibility of mechanical steering toward the targeted location. To support controlling the nanodevices upon reaching their target locations, there is intuitively a need for knowing their current locations. The first objective of the project is to propose an approach for localizing THz in-body nanonodes.

Objective 2

Equally intuitive, there is a need for communication between the outside world and the nanodevices (e.g., for issuing control commands), as well as between the nanodevice and the outside world (e.g., for delivering device’s readings). Due to the high loss and attenuation of in-body THz propagation some nanonodes will not be able to transmit all their data directly to the BAN nodes, but only communicate with the neighboring nanonodes. The second objective is to propose an approach for enabling such multi-hop nanocommunication between the nanonodes and the outside world.

Objective 3

The final objective is to develop the first prototype of the THz IBNN with localization and communication capabilities. This includes a system design of the envisioned system, required signalling specifications and protocols, and a demonstrator. To successfully achieve this aim, a secondment stay at the NaNoNetworking Center (N3Cat) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya is planned, hosted by Prof. Eduard Alarcòn and Dr. Sergi Abadal, both among the pioneers of THz nanocommunication.


  • H2020-MSCA-IF-2019, project nr. 893760
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow: Filip Lemic

More information

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