Microelectronics, Photonics and Nanotechnology

Microelectronics, photonics, and nanotechnology (MPN) constitute a research area that has the potential to address many of the grand challenges currently facing society, including improving healthcare by engineering better diagnostic tools, securing the homeland by creating better chemical and gas sensors, and reducing the cost of renewable energy sources by increasing the efficiency of solar energy conversion. Materials, devices, and integrated systems are the foundation to creating the enabling technologies that can address these important, multi-disciplinary challenges.

Therefore, the research thrusts within MPN share in common the creation of new technologies, and we approach this endeavor both experimentally and theoretically. Multi-disciplinary collaboration is a strong research component within our group because we apply the new technologies we create to solve science and engineering problems. In general, the collaborative process occurs using two approaches; basic science and engineering yield novel capabilities for which applications are sought, and fundamental challenges in existing applications are identified and novel solutions are developed. As a result of our approach, graduate students in our group conduct multidisciplinary research that seeks to solve fundamental challenges related to complex problems.

Research strengths in MPN focus on materials and devices that include micro- and nano-fluidic systems, integration of these fluidic systems with optical systems, photovoltaics, nano-optics, photodetectors, lasers and LEDs, optical biochemical sensors (fluidic and aerosol), silicon photonics, integrated circuit design through the MOSIS foundry, CMOS circuits, nanostructured materials and devices, and chip scale integrated optical/electrical systems. Strong software design and optimization capabilities in MPN are complemented by the fabrication and characterization capabilities in the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility at Duke, and through ultra mixed signal test facilities in MPN labs. MPN within Duke ECE aims to be the world leader in creating materials, devices, and integrated systems that enable novel technologies related to microelectronics, photonics, and nanotechnology in order to solve fundamental challenges across a broad range of applications. As a result, we will not only help advance society by resolving grand challenges, but, through our collaborations, we will give an “unfair advantage” to researchers, particularly our collaborators, who use our technologies to enhance their own programs.

Examples of application areas that benefit from strong on-campus research collaborations include:

  • Micro- and Nano-fluidics (School of Medicine)
  • Biological and Chemical Sensors (Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy)
  • Biomedical Imaging (School of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering)