Welcome to The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics (FIP), one of Duke's signature centers and institutes.

Mission: Provide an outstanding educational and research environment to train engineers who go on to profoundly impact industry and medicine, and to make original, substantial contributions to the field of photonics and optical science.

History: Established in 2000 as the Center for Photonics and Communications at Duke, The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics was renamed in 2006 to recognize major donors Michael Fitzpatrick and Patricia Fitzpatrick now the Fitzpatrick Foundation.

Institute at a Glance:

  • 150 tenured or tenure track faculty
  • 42 departments and centers represented
  • $4.1 million in scholarships & fellowships awarded
  • 24 students graduated from the Photonics certificate program
  • 15 Nobel Laureates presented at FIP Annual Symposia
  • 55 international collaborations over 22 countries
  • $630 million in research awards received by FIP faculty
  • 14 spinoff companies launched by FIP faculty

Department faculty structure:    

  • Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine 
  • Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics (CMIP)
  • Dept. of Anesthesiology
  • Dept. of Art, Art History and Visual Studies
  • Dept. of Biology
  • Dept. of Biomedical Engineering (BME)
  • Dept. of Cell Biology
  • Dept. of Chemical Biology
  • Dept. of Chemistry
  • Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE)
  • Dept. of Computer Science
  • Dept. of Dermatology
  • Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Dept. of Gastroenterology
  • Dept. of Geriatrics
  • Dept. of History
  • Dept. of Mathematics
  • Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science (MEMS)
  • Dept. of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
  • Dept. of Neurobiology
  • Dept. of Neurosurgery
  • Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dept. of Oncology
  • Dept. of Ophthalmology
  • Dept. of Orthopaedic Engineering
  • Dept. of Pathology
  • Dept. of Pediatrics
  • Dept. of Pharmacology & Biology
  • Dept. of Philosophy
  • Dept. of Physics
  • Dept. of Radiation Oncology
  • Dept. of Radiology
  • Dept. of Surgery
  • Dept. of Urology
  • Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health
  • Duke Human Vaccine Institute
  • Duke Immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE)
  • Nicholas School of the Environment
  • School of Nursing

Institute Facilities:

Our Vision:
We are witnessing a very exciting period in the history of science because there is an epochal convergence of many revolutions of the 20th century, such as the quantum revolution, the technology revolution and the genomics revolution. Photonics has played a critical role by contributing key revolutionary and disruptive technologies.

Light influences our lives today in new ways that we could never have imagined just a decade ago. As we move into a new decade, light will play an even more significant role, triggering a revolution in global photonic communications, creating nanoscale biosensors to unveil the inner world of the human cell, developing cost-effective medical cures for global health, inventing new energy sources, and galvanizing human exploration at the frontiers of the universe.

Photonics is a critical enabling technology at the heart of this scientific convergence that will define research progress in the 21st century. This is an exciting time for scientists and engineers, whose efforts are critically needed to address the challenges of our time. With the increasing awareness of our planet’s limited resources, we are now entering a paradigm shift from a ‘development-driven’ society to a ‘sustainability-driven’ society. Scientists and engineers will have many opportunities to use their expertise in photonics, apply their innovativeness, and devote their energies to address these global challenges and contribute to a sustainable future.

We are confident that the highly interdisciplinary nature of the FIP faculty’s resources and expertise prepares us for the challenges of the next decade. We have entered a phase where the knowledge of individual elements is no longer sufficient but should be combined and integrated in order to attain knowledge at the next level, i.e., the multi-scale systems level where the information on organization, activity and function requires a much higher level of complexity and sophistication. This transition from a knowledge base of individual elements to a systems level is one of the major paradigm shifts of the 21st century, which can be achieved only by integrating multiple disciplines and domains of knowledge. In a broader context, education and research in the next decade will evolve into a framework to fit the new reality of our world, i.e., a world that will be faced with cross disciplinary, systems level, and global challenges.

We need to educate the next generation of innovators and leaders not only to solve scientific and technical problems but also to understand societal connections between various human activities, create bridges between elements spanning multiple disciplines, and ultimately build a better world.

Reaching beyond our current leadership in biophotonics, photonic materials and quantum optics, the FIP is pursuing new opportunities to focus the unique depth and breadth of its faculty’s expertise and resources on critical areas of national and global importance such as energy and sustainability. As we aim to achieve international leadership through research, education and technology transfer, we will focus on developing translational research and integrated education aimed at service to a global society.

With this vision of hope I invite you to visit our website at www.fitzpatrick.duke.edu to learn more about our faculty, research programs, and activities.

Tuan Vo-Dinh, PhD
Director, Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics
R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Chemistry
Duke University