Digital-Microfluidic Biochips for Quantitative Analysis: Bridging the Gap between Microfluidics and Microbiology

Mohamed Ibrahima and Krishnendu Chakrabartyb
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Digital-microfluidics technology has shown considerable promise for advancing sample preparation and pointof- care diagnostics; therefore, it has the potential to transform microbiology and biochemistry research. Over the past decade, a number of microfluidics design-automation techniques have been developed for on-chip droplet manipulation. However, these methods overlook the myriad complexities of biomolecular protocols and they have yet to make a significant impact in biochemistry/microbiology research. A paradigm shift in biochip design automation and a ``phase transition'' in research are clearly needed to bridge this gap between microfluidics and microbiology. In this paper, we explain how researchers from design-automation and embedded systems can play a key role in this transition. We present a new synthesis flow that uses realistic models of biomolecular protocols and cyberphysical adaptation to address real-world microbiology applications. We also present a list of metrics that can be used for the assessment of designautomation techniques for microbiology applications.

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