"Experimental Investigation of a Microfluidic Communication System"
Experimental Investigation of a Microfluidic Communication System
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Microfluidics deals with the precise control and manipulation of fluids in geometries at submillimeter scale. Droplet-based microfluidics is a subcategory of microfluidics that controls discrete volumes of fluids, so-called droplets, in another immiscible fluid. Recently, solutions have been proposed to establish a simple communication in such a system, using droplets to convey information. In this work, a microfluidic experimental setup is implemented and characterized with focus on communication aspects. The transmitter uses a T-junction and a pressure pump for the droplet generation. At the receiver a microscope camera is utilized to detect the droplets. The noise sources are identified and it is shown that the noise can be modeled as a Gaussian random variable. The parameters (e.g., noise variance) of the experimental setup are used to evaluate two encoding schemes in terms of error probability and data rate. Presence/absence encoding (PAE) encodes the information in the presence and absence of droplets and distance encoding (DE) encodes the information in the time interval between two consecutive droplets. The performance of these two encoding schemes is compared and it is shown that DE provides a better tradeoff between error probability and data rate performance than PAE.