Universal lower bound on the free-energy cost of molecular measurements

TitleUniversal lower bound on the free-energy cost of molecular measurements
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDas SG, Rao M, Iyengar G
JournalPhysical Review E
Start Page062410
Date Published11/2017

The living cell uses a variety of molecular receptors to read and process chemical signals that vary in space and time. We model the dynamics of such molecular level measurements as Markov processes in steady state, with a coupling between the receptor and the signal. We prove exactly that, when the signal dynamics is not perturbed by the receptors, the free energy consumed by the measurement process is lower bounded by a quantity proportional to the mutual information. Our result is completely independent of the receptor architecture and dependent on signal properties alone, and therefore holds as a general principle for molecular information processing.

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