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Computer-Aided Design Boosts Biochip Efficiency

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Biochip processes plotted in time and space.

Biochip processes plotted in time and space. Paths (same color) were optimized with consideration of environmentally caused variations in process times.

Credit: Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technical University researchers are developing computer-aided design software to improve the physical layout of the discrete-droplet lab-on-a-chip.

The discrete-droplet design is highly flexible, which means many droplets can be guided through the chip. The droplets can be guided into other droplets so their contents can react, and then move toward another cell where a sensor is ready to measure the results. If designed properly, the new chip can conduct many different syntheses and analyses at the same time by moving droplets with different composites around one another.

However, reactions can run faster or slower with changes in temperature or humidity, and some measurements can take longer than others. The researchers optimized the design, with and without considering the effects of operation variation, and then ran simulations to determine how each approach performed.

The researchers found the designs that ignored process-time variation only succeeded up to 62 percent of the time, while variation-aware processes succeeded 100 percent of the time.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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