Microfluidic biochips represent an alternative to conventional biochemical analyzers. A digital biochip manipulates liquids not as continuous flow, but as discrete droplets on a two-dimensional array of electrodes. Several electrodes are dynamically grouped to form a virtual device, on which operations are executed by moving the droplets. So far, researchers have ignored the locations of droplets inside devices, considering that all the electrodes forming the device are occupied throughout the operation execution. In this article, we consider a droplet-aware execution of microfluidic operations, which means that we know the exact position of droplets inside the modules at each time-step. We propose a Tabu Search-based metaheuristic for the synthesis of digital biochips with droplet-aware operation execution. Experimental results show that our approach can significantly reduce the application completion time, allowing us to use smaller area biochips and thus reduce costs.
A C M Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems, 2013, Vol 9, Issue 1