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Digital microfluidic biochips are being increasingly used for biotechnology applications. The number of control pins used to drive electrodes is a major contributor to the fabrication cost for disposable biochips in a highly cost-sensitive market. Most prior work on pin-constrained biochip design determines the mapping of a small number of control pins to a larger number of electrodes according to the specific schedule of fluid-handling operations and routing paths of droplets. Such designs are, therefore, specific to the bioassay application, hence sacrificing some of the flexibility associated with digital microfluidics. We propose a design method to generate an application-independent pin-assignment configuration with a minimum number of control pins. Layouts of commercial biochips and laboratory prototypes are used as case studies to evaluate the proposed design method for determining a suitable pin-assignment configuration. Compared with previous pin-assignment algorithms, the proposed method can reduce the number of control pins and facilitate the general-purpose use of digital microfluidic biochips for a wider range of applications.
Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:32 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2013