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Neptune is a complete, end-to-end microfluidic design suite for synthetic biologists. With Neptune, researchers and microfluidic designers have all the tools needed to design, fabricate, and control microfluidic devices. Neptune supports high level specification of a microfluidic chips layout and function. This high level specification includes a library of predefined microfluidic components commonly used in designs, including valves, gradient generators, serpentine mixers, and droplet generators. Neptune also provides a interface where researchers can control their microfluidic chip in real time. Fluid flow can be manipulated directly from the interface, making Neptune an ideal tool for running and controlling microfluidic chip experiments. Neptune also interfaces with and sources only low cost, open and readily available tools to fabricate and control microfluidic chips; Neptune provides a 3D printed control infrastructure for your chip, and fabrication itself leverages the MakerFluidics workflow to create the chip using a CNC mill.


If you are want to design a microfluidic chip using Neptune, there are two ways to do so: either you begin by writing an LFR specification (see LFR Specification), or you can begin with a more detailed MINT description (see MINT Elaboration).

If you want to assemble control infrastructure for a microfluidic device, Neptune provides 3D printed design schematics for the hardware (see 3D Printed Control Infrastructure), and an explanation of how to assemble an Arduino-enabled pump array (see Assembly).

If you want to control you microfluidic device to run an experiment, Neptune provides a control interface to let you manipulate valves and generate pressure gradients to drive fluid flow (see Control).

And please, for installation, see Install and Run Neptune.

LFR Specification

High-level english-language specifications are a much more robust, parameterizable and modular way to define microfluidic designs. Neptune provides a very simple, high-level way to specify the layout and function of a microfluidic chip, using Liquid Flow Relation (LFR) files. The following section is a quick intro to how to use LFR files to generate a microfluidic design schematic.

MINT Elaboration

There are some details in your microfluidic design that you may need to fine tune, or certain parameters you may need to elaborate on. Neptune provides fine grained control over a microfluidic design schematic through Microfluidic Netlist (MINT) files, which allow you to have far greater control over certain design parameters that LFR files could not describe. The following section described how to leverage MINT files to fine tune your microfluidic design schematic

3D Printed Control Infrastructure

Have a microfluidic chip to run experiments on, but no way to control it? Thankfully, Neptune provides you with all 3D printed designs so that you can fabricate a pump array infrastructure over night! This section described how to use Neptune to get your 3D print designs.


Need help putting the pieces together? In this section we detail how to use Neptune to assemble your microfluidic chip.


Running experiments on a microfluidic chip means having fine control over many experimental aspects: a researcher needs to be able to open and close valves on the fly to mediate fluid flow, and running an experiment requires the ability to precisely control flow rates and fluid dispension amounts. Thankfully, Neptune can do all of this! This section describes how to use Neptune to run a simple microfluidic chip experiment, detailing how to open and close valves and how to control flow rates and dispension parameters.

Install and Run Neptune

Can’t wait to try it!? Please follow these installation instructions :) Problems installing or running Neptune? Please contact us!

Contributions and Attributions


Neptune is licensed as an open source software tool under BSD 2-Clause License as specified in

Contact Us

If you would like to receive updates from the Neptune team regarding bug fixes, patches, feature updates, or if you would like to contact the Neptune team, please check the links in