The Coming of Age of Flow-Based Microfluidics: EDA Solutions for Enabling Biochemistry on a Chip

Speaker:  Tsung-Yi Ho – Hsinchu, Taiwan
Topic(s):  Software Engineering and Programming


As the design complexity rapidly increases, the manufacture and the biochemical analysis of flow-based microfluidic biochip become more complicated. According to recent study, the biochips can now use more than 25,000 valves and about a million features to run 9,216 parallel polymerase chain reactions. Moreover, the number of mechanical valves per square inch for flow-based microfluidic biochips has grown exponentially and four times faster than the reflection of Moore's Law. Although the scale for flow-based microfluidic biochips is enlarging and the total amount of the valves fabricated on a chip are also growing significantly, computer-aided design (CAD) tools are still in their infancy today. Designers are using bottom-up full-custom design approaches involving multiple non-automated steps to manually adjust the components and the connection to satisfy the steps of desired biochemical applications. As a result, the development of explicit design rules and strategies allowing modular top-down synthesis methodologies are needed, in order to provide the same level of CAD support for the biochip designer as the one that are currently done for the semiconductor industry. This talk will offer attendees an opportunity to bridge the semiconductor ICs/system industry with the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. The talk will first describe emerging applications in biology and biochemistry that can benefit from advances in electronic “biochips”. The presenter will next describe technology platforms for accomplishing “biochemistry on a chip”, and introduce the audience to flow-based “continuous” microfluidics based on microvalve technology. Next, the presenter will describe system-level synthesis includes operation scheduling and resource binding algorithms, and physical-level synthesis includes placement and routing optimizations. In this way, the audience will see how a “biochip compiler” can translate protocol descriptions provided by an end user (e.g., a chemist or a nurse at a doctor’s clinic) to a set of optimized and executable fluidic instructions that will run on the underlying microfluidic platform. Testing techniques will be described to detect faults after manufacture and during field operation. A classification of defects will be presented based on data for fabricated chips. Appropriately fault models will be developed and presented to the audience. Finally, a number of case studies with recent applications on flow-based microfluidic biochips such as antibiotic susceptibility test will be discussed. Future challenges and several open problems in this area will also be presented.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  70
Duration:  80 minutes
Languages Available:  Chinese (Simplified), English
Last Updated: 

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