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An Open-Source, Programmable Pneumatic Setup for Operation and Automated Control of Single- and Multi-Layer Microfluidic Devices

By Kara Brower, Robert Puccinelli, Craig J. Markin, Tyler C. Shimko, Scott A. Longwell, Bianca Cruz, Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg, Polly Fordyce

Posted 13 Aug 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/173468 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.ohx.2017.10.001)

Microfluidic technologies have been used across diverse disciplines (e.g. high-throughput biological measurement, fluid physics, laboratory fluid manipulation) but widespread adoption has been limited due to the lack of openly disseminated resources that enable non-specialist labs to make and operate their own devices. Here, we report the open-source build of a pneumatic setup capable of operating both single and multilayer (Quake-style) microfluidic devices with programmable scripting automation. This setup can operate both simple and complex devices with 48 device valve control inputs and 18 sample inputs, with modular design for easy expansion, at a fraction of the cost of similar commercial solutions. We present a detailed step-by-step guide to building the pneumatic instrumentation, as well as instructions for custom device operation using our software, Geppetto, through an easy-to-use GUI for live on-chip valve actuation and a scripting system for experiment automation. We show robust valve actuation with near real-time software feedback and demonstrate use of the setup for high-throughput biochemical measurements on-chip. This open-source setup will enable specialists and novices alike to run microfluidic devices easily in their own laboratories.

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