High-throughput single-cell genomics is used to gain insights into diseases such as
cancer. Motivated by this important application, microfluidics has emerged as a key
technology for developing comprehensive biochemical procedures for studying DNA, RNA,
proteins, and many other cellular components. Recently, a hybrid microfluidic platform
has been proposed to efficiently automate the analysis of a heterogeneous sequence
of cells. In this design, a valve-based routing fabric based on transposers is used
to label/barcode the target cells. However, the design proposed in prior work overlooked
defects that are likely to occur during chip fabrication and system integration.We
address the above limitation by investigating the fault tolerance of the valve-based
routing fabric. We develop a theory of failure assessment and introduce a design technique
for achieving fault tolerance. Simulation results show that the proposed method leads
to a slight increase in the fabric size and decrease in cell-analysis throughput,
but this is only a small price to pay for the added assurance of fault tolerance in
the new design.
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