The Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications Systems at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering aims to help turn North Carolina into a "photon forest" where research and development in photonics can create the kind of technological advance and economic growth found in California's Silicon Valley. The Center was established at Duke University in December 2000 by a $25,000,000 gift from Michael and Patty Fitzpatrick.
The Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences opened on schedule in August, more than doubling the Pratt School of Engineering's teaching and research space. The four-building 322,000-square-foot complex is more than bricks and mortar. It represents a fundamental shift from a traditional academic departmental focus by bringing together faculty from across scientific disciplines working in four research initiatives: biology, photonics, materials and integrated sensors.