Richard B. Fair

Richard B. Fair

Lord-Chandran Professor of Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Dr. Fair is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society. He has served as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices (1990-1993) and is past Editor-In-Chief of the Proceedings of the IEEE (1993-2000). He received the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000, and the 2003 Solid State Science and Technology Award from the Electrochemical Society. He has published 150 papers in technical journals, contributed chapters to 10 books, edited eight more books, and given over 115 invited talks.
Our research group will continue to be driven by applications for lab-on-a-chip technology. While funding for microfluidics devices and science is non-existent, applications in environmental engineering, biosensing, diagnostics, genomics, etc. continue to appear. Thus, we have created strategic alliances with faculty in ECE, CEE, chemistry, genomics, biochemistry, microsystems engineering, and computer science at Duke, DUHS, Harvard and Stanford as part of our new thrusts into applications-driven research in bio-fluidic systems. We have funding to glue these critical pieces together. We have also aligned with Advanced Liquid Logic for the development of a more stable electrowetting platform on which to develop applications. And we are working on an NSF grant with Nan Jokerst’s group and Krish’s on an adaptive lab chip to develop on-chip optical sensing and control. Additionally, we have DARPA funding with Stanford, Harvard, and ALL in developing a genomic engineering platform for synthetic biology. Also, we are starting a new NSF grant on airborne particle sensing with Desert Research Institute.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Lord-Chandran Professor of Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
  • Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Affiliate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1969
  • M.S.E.E. Pennsylvania State University, 1966
  • B.S.E.E. Duke University, 1964

Research Interests

Microfluidic systems for lab-on-a-chip applications based on electrowetting technology. We are primarily focused on applications, such as a chip that extracts, purifies and amplifies the nucleic acid of sparse pathogens in blood for diagnosing sepsis, a chip to perform DNA sequencing by synthesis, a chip for editing the genomes of cells by transfecting synthetic DNA into the cells, and a chip for collecting and analyzing inorganic particles in air.


Computer Engineering
Sensing and Sensor Systems
Electronic Devices
Integrated Nanoscale Systems
Medical Diagnostics

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Life Fellow. IEEE. 2009
  • Gordon E. Moore Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Science and Technology. Electrochemical Society. 2003
  • Third Millennium Medal. IEEE. 2000
  • Professor James F. Gibbons Achievement Award. 4th International Conference on Advanced Thermal Processing. 1996
  • Fellow. Electrochemical Society. 1994
  • Fellow. Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 1990

Courses Taught

  • ECE 331L: Fundamentals of Microelectronic Circuits
  • ECE 391: Undergraduate Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 528: Integrated Circuit Engineering
  • ECE 891: Internship
  • ECE 899: Special Readings in Electrical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Fair, RB, Demonstration of Automated Analysis of Multiple Analytes on an Integrated Digital Microfluidic Platform., Clinical chemistry, vol 63 no. 5 (2017), pp. 1038-1039 [10.1373/clinchem.2016.266585] [abs].
  • Moore, JA; Nemat-Gorgani, M; Madison, AC; Sandahl, MA; Punnamaraju, S; Eckhardt, AE; Pollack, MG; Vigneault, F; Church, GM; Fair, RB; Horowitz, MA; Griffin, PB, Automated electrotransformation of Escherichia coli on a digital microfluidic platform using bioactivated magnetic beads., Biomicrofluidics, vol 11 no. 1 (2017) [10.1063/1.4975391] [abs].
  • Madison, AC; Royal, MW; Fair, RB, Fluid Transport in Partially Shielded Electrowetting on Dielectric Digital Microfluidic Devices, Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, vol 25 no. 4 (2016), pp. 593-605 [10.1109/JMEMS.2016.2561699] [abs].
  • Hu, K; Ibrahim, M; Chen, L; Li, Z; Chakrabarty, K; Fair, R, Experimental demonstration of error recovery in an integrated cyberphysical digital-microfluidic platform, IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference: Engineering for Healthy Minds and Able Bodies, BioCAS 2015 - Proceedings (2015) [10.1109/BioCAS.2015.7348390] [abs].
  • Chen, L; Fair, RB, Digital microfluidics chip with integrated intra-droplet magnetic bead manipulation, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, vol 19 no. 6 (2015), pp. 1349-1361 [10.1007/s10404-015-1650-9] [abs].