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Advances in droplet-based digital microfluidics have led to the emergence of biochips for automating laboratory procedures in biochemistry and molecular biology. These devices enable the precise control of microliter of nanoliter volumes of biochemical samples and reagents. They combine electronics with biology, and integrate various bioassay operations, such as sample preparation, analysis, separation, and detection. Compared to conventional laboratory procedures, which are cumbersome and expensive, miniaturized digital microfluidic biochips (DMFBs) offer the advantages of higher sensitivity, lower cost, system integration, and less likelihood of human error. This tutorial paper provides an overview of DMFBs and describes emerging computer-aided design (CAD) tools for the automated synthesis and optimization of biochips, from physical modeling to fluidic-level synthesis and then to chip-level design. By efficiently utilizing the electronic design automation (EDA) technique on emerging CAD tools, users can concentrate on the development of nanoscale bioas-says, leaving chip optimization and implementation details to design-automation tools.
Date of Conference: 7-11 Nov. 2010