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Due to recent advances in microfluidics, digital microfluidic biochips are expected to revolutionize laboratory procedures. One critical problem for biochip synthesis is the droplet routing problem. Unlike traditional very large scale integration routing problems, in addition to routing path selection, the biochip routing problem needs to address the issue of scheduling droplets under practical constraints imposed by the fluidic property and timing restriction of synthesis results. In this paper, we present the first network-flow-based routing algorithm that can concurrently route a set of noninterfering nets for the droplet routing problem on biochips. We adopt a two-stage technique of global routing followed by detailed routing. In global routing, we first identify a set of noninterfering nets and then adopt the network-flow approach to generate optimal global-routing paths for nets. In detailed routing, we present the first polynomial-time algorithm for simultaneous routing and scheduling using the global-routing paths with a negotiation-based routing scheme. Our algorithm targets at both the minimization of cells used for routing for better fault tolerance and minimization of droplet transportation time for better reliability and faster bioassay execution. Experimental results show the robustness and efficiency of our algorithm.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:27 , Issue: 11 )
Date of Publication: Nov. 2008