A Virtual Symposium hosted by the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics | May 16-18, 2021

Duke Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics


2021 IDL outreach - mAY 16TH

Join Duke University’s Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics
and our sponsor
Light Painting Brushes

for the 2021 International Day of Light Virtual Outreach


LIGHT demonstrations

Duke University’s Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics
demonstrates light technologies

Why is the sky blue? How does fiber-optic internet work? What’s too small to see with eyes and light microscopes?


LIGHT painting

Light Painting Brushes and Triangle Light Painters
share tutorials on the art of light painting.

IDL 2021 Photo Contest Winner

West Carteret High School

Light changes our world because it allows us to see the world through a new perspective; oftentimes it is one that is more beautiful and allows us to find beauty in unexpected places. An example of this is my picture. Most people would look at a pool and see a dirty, filthy, large bathtub filled with chlorine, germs, and urine. However, when we shed light onto it, it allows us to see the true beauty of the pool: It is a sparkling blue pool where stress is relieved, where children and adults alike come to have fun, and a place of exercise for athletes and non-athletes. As a swimmer, I constantly find myself at the pool practicing oftentimes early in the morning before the sun has come up. During practice, I watch the sun come up and the light slowly seep through the window sills of the pool. There are mornings when the only reason I practice is to see the light and the beauty that quickly follows suit. The light provides a fresh perspective- a perspective that brings with it positivity and relaxation. Both of these feelings stay with me throughout my school day.


Vanessa Cupil-GarciaVanessa Cupil-Garcia

Fitzpatrick Scholar
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Chemistry
Duke University

Vanessa Cupil-Garcia (Fitzpatrick Scholar) is a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh’s Group in the Department of Chemistry. She was born in Tabasco, Mexico and came to the United States as a child. She graduated summa cum laude from Meredith College with degrees in chemistry and biology and an international studies minor. She conducted a summer of research at the Georgia Institute of Technology under Dr. Stefan France where she synthesized indole carboxylates and worked on the carbon hydrogen functionalization of naphthalene diimide. She also worked at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on quantifying the genetic variability in mitochondrial supercomplexes in D2 and B6 mice strains in Dr. Kari Buck’s laboratory. Her research at Duke University under the guidance of Dr. Vo-Dinh focuses on integrating nanotechnology and chemistry to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools. She is currently synthesizing inorganic and organic nanomaterials for the treatment of cancers combined with immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs. She is also adapting inverse molecular sentinel sensors (iMS) for microRNA detection in plants for bioenergy purposes. She is applying iMS sensors on fiber optrodes for in situ detection of disease related analytes.

What’s too small to see with eyes and light microscopes? Learn about scanning electron microscope and seeing things at the nano level.

Joy LiJoy Li

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University

Joy Li (NDSEG fellow) is a 2nd year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student in Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh’s lab. She was born in Tangshan, China, and moved to America at 7 years old. Joy got her bachelor’s in Biomedical engineering at Cornell University, graduating magna cum laude. For two summers, she interned with Dr. Shu Xiao at Old Dominion University to study microbubble and pico-second pulse induced membrane permeabilization. At Cornell, she conducted research in Dr. Gennady Shvet’s Lab on differentiating cancer and normal cells and tissues through metasurface-enhanced Fourier transform infrared (FTIR). In her graduate studies at Duke University, Joy is developing theranostic nanotechnologies, including inverse molecular sentinel (iMS), for intracellular nucleic acid sensing and gene delivery. She is also interested in applying machine learning to analyze complex Raman spectra.  

Why is the sky blue? How does fiber-optic internet work?  Learn about reflection and refraction.


Jason D. Page, Light PainterJason Page

Light Painter
Founder and Owner of Light Painting Brushes
Juniper, Florida

Jason D. Page is a Light Painter.  His work focuses on using a camera as an instrument for recording light rather than a tool for documentation.  Jason is passionate about the the Light Painting Art Form.  He is the founder of LightPaintingPhotography.com and the inventor of the light painting tool system Light Painting Brushes (including the Universal Connector) that is used by many light painters.

Learn about light used in long exposure photography to create art by light painting.

Johnny Dickerson

Light Painter
Raleigh, NC

With what is now going on a little over a decade of swinging lights in front of a camera, I am what you call a light painter.  I use long exposures or an open shutter of a camera to catch light trails in the night.  I focus on the manipulation of light in a three dimensional space to create works of art through the use of photography.  Combining the skills of photography, drawing and painting;  I “paint” a scene by using home made light tools an toys to create my final image.  I have been involved in a Guiness Book World Record for light painting, exhibited in many galleries and even been featured on an episode of WRAL-TV’s “The Tarheel Traveler”!  A common saying that can describe this art form is that the night is my canvas, and light is my paint.

August Burns

Light Painter
Durham, North Carolina

Recently when my mother was sick with cancer, I saw some photos of light painting from a work colleague, Jess Cruger.  I was in awe and asked her could she show me how she created them.  From there began a wonderful friendship and networking with all kinds of light painters and amazing people from many places.  This form of working with light gave me a great sense of peace and joy.   In this outreach you will see some fantastic light painters that are willing to share knowledge and inspire You to create!

Jess Cruger and Andy Mills

Light Painters
Durham, North Carolina

Jess Cruger and Andy Mills met through the Day of Light celebration in 2018 and decided to continue to light the night together since.  As a team we bring the combined of technical skill and creativity  with  a shared love of science, art, and photography to the light paint world.