2016 Volume E99.A Issue 2 Pages 570-578
Different from application-specific digital microfluidic biochips, a general-purpose design has several advantages such as dynamic reconfigurability, and fast on-line evaluation for real-time applications. To achieve such superiority, this design typically activates each electrode in the chip using an individual control pin. However, as the design complexity increases substantially, an order-of-magnitude increase in the number of control pins will significantly affect the manufacturing cost. To tackle this problem, several methods adopting a pin-sharing mechanism for general-purpose designs have been proposed. Nevertheless, these approaches sacrifice the flexibility of droplet movement, and result in an increase of bioassay completion time. In this paper, we present a novel pin-count reduction design methodology for general-purpose microfluidic biochips. Distinguished from previous approaches, the proposed methodology not only reduces the number of control pins significantly but also guarantees the full flexibility of droplet movement to ensure the minimal bioassay completion time.