Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Riverside

Design Automation of Paper Microfluidic Devices


The emerging demands for healthcare where access is limited due to political, environmental, or socio-economic factors have been driving research into bio-medical devices that perform in both diagnostic and therapeutic roles at lower costs and greater accessibility. Paper microfluidic devices are used in many applications, particularly medical diagnostics and offer an excellent combination of utility and low cost making them particularly valuable in resource-limited applications and point-of-care usage across a wide variety environmental conditions. Microfluidic biological diagnostics continue to mature as researchers discover new ways to exploit the technological possibilities, and address liabilities. The increasing complexity of paper-based microfluidic devices beyond home pregnancy tests is driving the need to produce new tools and methodologies that enable more robust biological diagnostics and potential therapeutic applications. However, the process of developing new paper microfluidic devices is limited due to having to manually design and fabricate designs to research. Often, researchers must design scores of different devices to find a combination of parameters that functions as expected. In this work, a novel software framework to support automated development of paper-based microfluidic devices is introduced to facilitate both research and fabrication to accelerate the investigative process and reduce material utilization and manpower. Unlike to existing lab-on-a-chip technologies, paper-based microfluidics differs in terms of substrate technologies and use a passive flow method to deliver fluids and reagents for assays. While numerous analogies between microfluidics and semiconductor technologies have been espoused, the physical differences between the fluid dynamics and electrical current are significant which suggests that current trends in physical design for microfluidics must change course in order to be of practical use to designers. Within this framework, a methodology is introduced to address design automation such as dynamically placing and routing microfluidic components in a non-discrete design space while avoiding invalid design layouts, accounting for fluid volume usage, surface area utilization, and the timing required to perform specified biological assays and also optimizing device parameters, enabling researchers to focus on the science and thereby accelerating the development of new, low-resource paper microfluidic devices for a developing world.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View