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Microfluidics-based biochips are revolutionizing high-throughput sequencing, parallel immunoassays, blood chemistry for clinical diagnostics, and drug discovery. These devices enable the precise control of nanoliter volumes of biochemical samples and reagents. They combine electronics with biology, and they integrate various bioassay operations, such as sample preparation, analysis, separation, and detection. Compared to conventional laboratory procedures, which are cumbersome and expensive, miniaturized biochips offer the advantages of higher sensitivity, lower cost due to smaller sample and reagent volumes, system integration, and less likelihood of human error. This tutorial paper provides an overview of droplet-based ??digital?? microfluidic biochips. It describes emerging computer-aided design (CAD) tools for the automated synthesis and optimization of biochips from bioassay protocols. Recent advances in fluidic-operation scheduling, module placement, droplet routing, pin-constrained chip design, and testing are presented. These CAD techniques allow biochip users to concentrate on the development of nanoscale bioassays, leaving chip optimization and implementation details to design-automation tools.
Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:57 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2010