Towards Microfluidic Design Automation
Microfluidic chips, lab-on-a-chip devices that have channels transporting liquids instead of wires carrying electrons, have attracted considerable attention recently from the bio-medical industry because of their application in testing assay and large-scale chemical reaction automation. These chips promise dramatic reduction in the cost of large-scale reactions and bio-chemical sensors. Just like in traditional chip design, there is an acute need for automation tools that can assist with design, testing and verification of microfluidics chips. We propose a design methodology and tool to design microfluidic chips based on SMT solvers. The design of these chips is expressed using the language of partial differential equations (PDEs) and non-linear multi-variate polynomials over the reals. We convert such designs into SMT2 format through appropriate approximations, and invoke Z3 and dReal solver on them. Through our experiments we show that using SMT solvers is a not only a viable strategy to address the microfluidics design problem, but likely will be key component of any future development environment. In addition to analysis of Microfluidic Chip design, we discuss the new area of Microhydraulics; a new technology being developed for the purposes of macking dynamic molds and dies for manufacturing. By contrast, Microhydraulics is more concerned on creating designs that will satisfy the dynamic requirements of manufacturers, as opposed to microfludics which is more concerned about the chemical reactions taking place in a chip. We develop the background of the technology as well as the models required for SMT solvers such as Z3 and dReal to solve them.