The last two decades have witnessed the emergence of software-programmable laboratory-on-a-chip (LoC) technology, enabled by technological advances in microfabrication coupled with scientific understanding of microfluidics, the fundamental science of fluid behavior at the micro- to nanoliter scale. The net result of these collective advancements is that many experimental laboratory procedures have been miniaturized, accelerated, and automated. With a handful of exceptions, research on programming languages and compiler design for programmable LoCs has lagged behind their silicon counterparts.
Prof. Philip Brisk and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a new programming language and tool to design microfluidic (MF) devices. The new presented language, BioScript, offers a user-friendly syntax that reads user input like a cookbook recipe to optimize human readability. The advantage of the BioScript type system is that it ensures that each fluid is never consumed more than once, and that unsafe combinations of chemicals are never mixed on the chip. This result establishes the feasibility of high-level programming language and compiler design for programmable chemistry, and opens up future avenues for research in microfluidic systems.
Fig 2: A Laboratory-on-a-Chip (LoC) system