Extensible FPGA Test Platform for Lab-on-Chip

***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***

Project Description:

The Lab on Chip (LoC) project at the Integrated Systems Laboratory (LSI) aims to combine various micro-mechanical and bio-sensor systems with traditional data procesisng systems. The goal of the project is to develop cost-effective LoC systems that can be customized to detect specific molecules, toxic agents, proteins.

Currently such analyses are done using large laboratories. Such laboratories are few in number and are impractical for large-scale monitoring. LoCs can have extensive applications in health care systems, environmental monitoring and in quality control.

The road to a single-chip LoC system is a long one. First versions of the proposed LoCs will consist of interconnected sensors and data acquisition systems. In this project, the goal is to develop an FPGA based board that will be used to interface sensors.

Since all the sensors that will be used in this project are not available, it is important that a modular approach is chosen. The core of the system will be a (smaller) FPGA. Each FPGA will have:

Multiple extension modules that can be used to interface different sensors.

– The extension modules will be customized for a the sensors but will consist of one:

  • a multiplexer that is able to select one from many inputs
  • an amplifier with programmable gain
  • an ADC converter with high precision
  • a stimulus generation unit that can be programmed to output arbitrary voltages and waveforms
  • a controller implemented on the FPGA that drives the external components.

These extension modules will include additional components that will be placed on daughterboards that can be easily added to the FPGA system.

  • A main controller that will drive all extension modules
  • A USB (or other appropriate) interface to a personal computer
  • An extension port that will enable multiple systems to be chained together. Ideally a single USB port should suffice to connect multiple FPGA systems which in turn have multiple extension modules.

The important part of the project is the interface to the personal computer. A method to download the data into post-processing tools such as matlab and excel should be provided.


  • Develop an FPGA-based modular system that will be used to interface various sensors.
  • Decide on a suitable FPGA for the system
  • Develop core functionality that will enable the system to interface a series of data acquisition modules, stimulus generators and communicate with similar systems
  • Design at least one data acquisition module that consists of a high-precision Analog to Digital Converter, Analog Multiplexer and a low noise amplifier with programmable gain
  • Develop an USB based interface that will enable the system to be controlled from a PC. Ideally the acquired data should be easily downloadable to a post-processing tools such as Matlab
  • Design the PCB for the system


  • Experience with hardware design languages (VHDL)
  • Knowledge on hardware architectures
  • Basic knowledge on Windows/Linux programming


This project was supervised by Frank K. Gürkaynak


***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***