From the Director

Tuan Vo-DinhWelcome to Duke University's Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics. The Institute is an interdisciplinary research and education effort focused on photonics: the science of light-matter interactions. Through this effort, Duke is establishing itself as a national “center of gravity” for photonics research. We're tapping into the breadth of faculty expertise and facilities of the Pratt School of Engineering, as well as Duke's Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and Medical School.

Photonics has been at the heart of the information technology revolution, and it can have similar impact in many critical areas such as medicine at the point-of-care, molecular manufacturing, national defense, and global health. Optical technology will lead to tools that can provide real time, non-invasive diagnostics. This could change the course of medicine in diagnosing early stages of disease because no tissue has to be removed and the diagnosis is made instantly.

I strongly believe in science and technology for a purpose. The most exciting times of my career have been when I was working in interdisciplinary groups where the breakthroughs achieved by these research teams extended beyond the realm of traditional individual disciplines, and that is why this position at Duke appealed to me.

Duke offers a tremendous platform of expertise to develop next-generation photonics technologies at the nexus of the nano-bio-info-opto convergence that could trigger the next technology revolution.

As Director, I plan to build on the Fitzpatrick Institute's established strengths of its faculty in biophotonics, nano/microsystems, optical materials and quantum information technology and continue to further extend research programs to new areas such as nanophotonics. One of the Institute goals is to emphasize translational research activities that put technology into the service of society.

I envision a range of integrated, rugged, low cost, miniaturized tools to meet the needs of healthcare providers working in the field under adverse environmental conditions. Such technology could include optical nanosensors capable of detecting molecular changes at the cellular level; optical biochip technology to make routine lab tests portable and cost effective; or quantum optics to make personalized medical information transmission safe and secure.

I invite you to join in the exciting work happening at the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics.


Tuan Vo-Dinh, Director
R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Chemistry