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The Fitzpatrick Center

The Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (FCIEMAS) was designed to position the Pratt School of Engineering and its partners to make major advancements in the fields of:

  • Bioengineering
  • Photonics
  • Communications
  • Materials Science and Materials Engineering

It supports specialized initiatives that drive interdisciplinary activities, and encourages the creative interactions essential for making significant progress in these fields. Students working in the Fitzpatrick Center learn that major advances occur at the boundaries between disciplines.

This comprehensive facility provides extensive wet bench laboratories, departmental offices, teaching labs, and other lab support spaces, and provide direct access to the café.

A highlight is a state-of-the-science cleanroom for nanotechnology research. The center's carefully designed interaction spaces and proximity to the Duke University Medical Center and colleagues in photonics and materials engineering have fostered highly productive collaborative projects.

In the Building

Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF)

The first floor of the Fitzpatrick Building contains Duke's Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility, a visualization studio and the Dickinson Arcade. The Shared Instrumentation Facility has a Class 100-1000 characterization and testing facility to enable the study, creation and manipulation of biological, chemical, photonic and mechanical materials at the nanoscale, one billionth of a meter.

It is a joint venture of the Pratt School of Engineering and the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

The Visualization Studio and Dickinson Arcade

The Elizabeth and Gary Dickinson Arcade contains a studio with a variety of sensors, and six-sided 3-D Visroom taking data from those sensors and delivering back-projected virtual reality images on each room surface. A unique facility, it is used to visualize three-dimensional data, and explore human perception.

The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics

The second and third floors of the Fitzpatrick Building supports the Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics, which is dedicated to photonics, the integration of light with electronics to manage and transmit information. The center focuses on exploring and exploiting the interface between the physical and digital world, and educating tomorrow’s photonics leaders.

Fitzpatrick South

The south building of the west complex is a large auditorium, undergraduate laboratories and the school’s Integrated Sensors and Simulators initiative.

On the first floor is the 206-seat Kenneth T. Schiciano Auditorium, reflecting the latest multimedia technologies and design. It is the primary setting for everything from major symposia to academic instruction. Fitzpatrick Center donors and Duke Engineering members of the National Academy of Engineering are honored on a Wall of Recognition in the atrium.

The 2nd and 3rd floors of the south building are devoted to Pratt’s Integrated Sensors and Simulators Initiative. This effort, drawing on expertise from the departments of civil and environmental engineering and electrical and computer engineering, seeks innovative approaches to emerging problem areas such as shifting climate patterns detection. The 2nd floor supports the initiative’s hydrology and fluid dynamics groups.

The 3rd floor includes the Applied Remote Sensing Center, which is leading a four-university effort to develop techniques to direct sensors seeking hidden war targets.

Our Smart Bridges

Linking the east and west complexes are twin two-story bridges. Serving as thoroughfares between the 2nd and 3rd floors of the southern buildings of both complexes, the bridges also provide inviting places for faculty and students to interact.

Beneath the bridges is a paved courtyard serving as a continuation of the pedestrian walkway leading to the Engineering Quadrangle to the north and central West Campus to the south.

Smart Camera

Under each specially marked tile along one side of the main hallway floor are special actuators that directly contact Optical Fiber Bragg Grating sensors. These sensors are embedded in a fiber array that runs the length of the hallway.

Upon stepping or tapping on one of these designated floor tiles, the small change in reflected wavelength from the associated optical sensor is detected by the optical interrogator equipment in the control room, and the software instructs a video camera to pan, zoom, and tilt to the location of the disturbed tile.

The live image from the video camera is broadcast via a wireless connection. With a laptop computer and a wireless connection, people stepping on the tile will be able to see themselves in real time on their PC screen. And as they continue to walk down the hallway to another marked tile, the camera will pan zoom and tilt to their new location.

Smart Bridge

Smart Bridge DiagramEmbedded beneath the tiles of the bridge is an optical fiber sensors array comprised of 15 Optical Fiber Bragg Grating sensors, spaced approximately every meter. The sensors are capable of detecting dimensional changes in the surrounding structure on the order of 1/10,000th of a percent (or on the order of a micro-strain).

The sensors, along with a high speed swept-laser interrogator, and software system comprise a true, real time structural monitoring system that provides stress, strain and temperature information about the bridge connecting the buildings.

The display monitor indicates instantaneous changes in the stress at each sensor along the bridge, and updates at 60 times per second. The stress history for each sensor is averaged and displayed on the right hand-side graph, so that the effects wind, load, and temperature-induced stresses, for example, can be monitored, recorded, and analyzed. Special mounting techniques are utilized for the stress sensors to ensure intimate contact with the surrounding structure, whereas, the temperature sensors are physically isolated from the surrounding concrete.

These smart camera and smart bridge systems were provided by Chandler Innovations Inc. and Keehi Technologies, Inc.

The Fitzpatrick Center North

Overlooking the courtyard and a paved terrace on the quad is Twinnie’s Café, located in the northwest corner of the first floor of the North Building. Twinnie's is the lifelong nickname of former Dean Kristina Johnson's mother, Kathleen B. Johnson, who was a twin. The café is a natural gathering place for faculty, staff, students and visitors, serving coffee, teas and a variety of light fare.

The rest of the first floor of the biomed and Vinik buildings is devoted to bioengineering. The Pratt Bioengineering Initiative builds on the Duke BME's close relationship with the Duke University School of Medicine. It aims to improve human health, from insights into cell behavior to devices that regulate the rhythms and chemical tides of the body. Key programs on the 1st floor include neuroengineering, tissue engineering, genomic technology and the Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering, a multi-disciplinary center focusing on protein engineering, cellular engineering and tissue engineering.

Most of the second floor of the biomed building is dedicated to faculty of the School of Medicine, including cardiology, anesthesiology and orthopedics. The Jim Wyngaarden Hall of Honor is also on the second floor. Wyngaarden was chairman of medicine at Duke and chief of staff of Duke Hospital before being appointed director of the National Institutes of Health in 1982.

The third floor of the east complex houses the Master of Engineering Management program (Duke MEM) and the Biologically Inspired Materials research initiative. The office suite for Duke MEM is located in the northwest corner of the third floor. This master's degree program integrates engineering and business principles to develop future leaders of technology-based organizations. Facilities include administrative offices, a student gathering space/conference room, student lockers and a student computer laboratory.

The Vinik Building

Bioengineering labs and offices are on the first floor, and the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP) occupies the second floor. IGSP represents Duke’s campus-wide response to the broad challenges of the Genome Revolution. The institute is organized into five centers and the offices and labs of the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Center for Genome Technology are located on the second floor. There also is lab space for IGSP computational research, a conference center and administrative offices.