Function-driven, graphical design tool for microfluidic chips: 3DuF
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CitationJ. Lippai, R. Sanka, A. Lashkaripour, D. Densmore, Function-driven, graphical design tool for microfluidic chips: 3duf. in The Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation, (2017)
The use of microfluidic chips for applications in biology to reduce the cost, time, and difficulty of automating experiments, while promising, has proven to have barriers to entry. In particular, the cost of the equipment required for manufacturing techniques like soft lithography, the difficulty in designing functional microfluidic chips, and the time associated with manufacturing them have made rapid production for prototyping and iterative design difficult. Our lab’s microfluidics design flow is capable of automating much of the design process of microfluidic chips using the paradigm of defining them as primitives placed on a layout grid and exporting standard formats for use in fabrication. 3DuF, a design tool that allows the user to carry out the placement and connection of primitives through a browser-based GUI, simplifies the design process to specifying the primitives through parameters and using a pointer to connect them with channels. But this approach assumes that the designer knows exactly what physical dimensions the primitives need for the chip to perform adequately for experiments, which may not be the case if sufficient literature or a fluid dynamics expertise are not present. By communicating with DAFD, our lab’s currently in-development database and model-fitting framework, 3DuF will be able to define microfluidic primitives for placement on chip layouts not only through physical dimensions, but also by specific performance metrics desired of the primitives’ functions, which will result in automatically generated dimensions for those primitives. This will allow chip design through the simple paradigm of using a GUI to place primitives and connect them with channels, while also making a useful definition of those primitives for the designer’s needs less reliant on their fluid dynamics expertise.