David R. Smith

David R. Smith

James B. Duke Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Office Location: 
2527 CIEMAS Building, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90291, Durham, NC 27708-0291
(919) 660-5376


Dr. David R. Smith is currently the James B. Duke Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Duke University. He is also Director of the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics at Duke and holds the positions of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Physics Department at the University of California, San Diego, and Visiting Professor of Physics at Imperial College, London. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. in 1994 in Physics from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Smith's research interests include the theory, simulation and characterization of unique electromagnetic structures, including photonic crystals and metamaterials.  

Smith is best known for his theoretical and experimental work on electromagnetic metamaterials. Metamaterials are artificially structured materials, whose electromagnetic properties can be tailored and tuned in ways not easily accomplished with conventional materials. Smith has been at the forefront in the development of numerical methods to design and characterize metamaterials, and has also provided many of the key experiments that have helped to illustrate the potential that metamaterials offer. Smith and his colleagues at UCSD demonstrated the first left-handed (or negative index) metamaterial at microwave frequencies in 2000--a material that had been predicted theoretically more than thirty years prior by Russian physicist Victor Veselago. No naturally occurring material or compound with a negative index-of-refraction had ever been reported until this experiment. In 2001, Smith and colleagues followed up with a second experiment confirming one of Veselago's key conjectures: the 'reversal' of Snell's law. These two papers--the first published in Physical Review Letters and the second in Science--generated enormous interest throughout the community in the possibility of metamaterials to extend and augment the properties of conventional materials. Both papers have now been cited more than 3,000 times each.

Since those first metamaterial experiments, Smith has continued to study the fundamentals and potential applications of negative index media and metamaterials. In 2004, Smith began studying the potential of metamaterials as a means to produce novel gradient index media. By varying the index-of-refraction throughout a material, an entire class of optical elements (such as lenses) can be formed. Smith showed that metamaterials could access a much larger range of design space, since both the magnetic and the electric properties could be graded independently. Smith and colleagues demonstrated several versions of gradient index optics, an activity that continues in his lab today. The introduction of controlled spatial gradients in the electromagnetic properties of a metamaterial flows naturally into the broad concept of transformation optics - a new electromagnetic design approach proposed by Sir John Pendry in 2006. To illustrate of the novelty of this design approach, Pendry, Schurig and Smith suggested in 2006 that an 'invisibility cloak' could be realized by a metamaterial implementation of a transformation optical design. Later that same year, Smith's group at Duke University reported the demonstration of a transformation optical designed 'invisibility cloak' at microwave frequencies. The concept of transformation optics has since attracted the attention of the scientific community, and is now a rapidly emerging sub-discipline in the field.

Smith's work on transformation optics has been featured in nearly every major newspaper, including a cover story in USA Today, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and many more. Smith and his work on cloaking have also been featured on television news programs inlcuding The Today Show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. Smith's work has also been highlighted in documentary programs on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, the BBC and others.

Please also see Prof. Smith's personal website at http://people.ee.duke.edu/~drsmith for the most frequent updates.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at San Diego 1994

  • B.S., University of California at San Diego 1988

Selected Grants

Next Generation Metamaterials and Metasurfaces for Novel Radio Frequency and Optical Devices awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2023

Multi-Aperture Passive Sonar Array Calibration using Ocean Ambient Noise awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

Detecting Human Presence Using Dynamic Metasurface Anetennas awarded by Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020

The Information Content of Ocean Noise: Theory and Experiment awarded by University of California - San Diego (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2019

Multipath Array Processing for Co-Prime and Under-Sampled Sensor Arrays awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2018

Adapting Towed-Array Tilt for Passive Detection Gain Based on 3-D Noise Field Directionality Estimates awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Metamaterial Physical Layer Implementations of Advanced Computational and Compressive Imaging Schemes at Infrared Bands awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2017

Discrete Dipole Approximation as a robust technique for antenna design and metamaterial devices awarded by Kymeta Corporation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2017

Theory and Simulation of Optical Metasurfaces awarded by Intellectual Ventures Management, LLC (Principal Investigator). 2016

Hydrodynamic Wake Control with Flui-Permeable Metamaterials awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016


Landy, N, Urzhumov, Y, Smith, DR, Landy, N, Urzhumov, Y, and Smith, DR. "Quasi-conformal approaches for two and three-dimensional transformation optical mediaQuasi-conformal approaches for two and three-dimensional transformation optical media (PublishedPublished)." Transformation Electromagnetics and Metamaterials: Fundamental Principles and Applications. July 1, 2014. 1-32. Full Text

Cui, TJ, Smith, DR, and Liu, R. "Preface." December 1, 2010. Full Text

Boyarsky, M, Sleasman, T, Pulido-Mancera, L, Diebold, AV, Imani, MF, and Smith, DR. "Single-frequency 3D synthetic aperture imaging with dynamic metasurface antennas." Applied Optics 57.15 (May 20, 2018): 4123-4134. Full Text

Del Hougne, P, F Imani, M, Sleasman, T, Gollub, JN, Fink, M, Lerosey, G, and Smith, DR. "Dynamic Metasurface Aperture as Smart Around-the-Corner Motion Detector." Scientific Reports 8.1 (April 25, 2018): 6536-null. Full Text

Marks, DL, and Smith, DR. "Linear solutions to metamaterial volume hologram design using a variational approach." Journal of the Optical Society of America A 35.4 (April 1, 2018): 567-567. Full Text

Diebold, AV, Imani, MF, Sleasman, T, and Smith, DR. "Phaseless computational ghost imaging at microwave frequencies using a dynamic metasurface aperture." Applied Optics 57.9 (March 20, 2018): 2142-2142. Full Text

Yurduseven, O, Marks, DL, Fromenteze, T, and Smith, DR. "Dynamically reconfigurable holographic metasurface aperture for a Mills-Cross monochromatic microwave camera." Optics Express 26.5 (March 5, 2018): 5281-5291. Full Text

Liu, X, Larouche, S, and Smith, DR. "Homogenized description and retrieval method of nonlinear metasurfaces." Optics Communications 410 (March 2018): 53-69. Full Text

Jia, X, Bowen, P, Huang, Z, Liu, X, Bingham, C, and Smith, DR. "Clarification of surface modes of a periodic nanopatch metasurface." Optics Express 26.3 (February 5, 2018): 3004-3004. Full Text

Gowda, VR, Imani, MF, Sleasman, T, Yurduseven, O, and Smith, DR. "Focusing Microwaves in the Fresnel Zone with a Cavity-Backed Holographic Metasurface." IEEE Access 6 (February 2, 2018): 12815-12824. Full Text

Marks, DL, and Smith, DR. "Inverse scattering with a non self-adjoint variational formulation." Optics Express 26.6 (January 1, 2018): 7655-7671. Full Text


Boyarsky, M, Sleasman, T, Pulido-Mancera, L, Diebold, AV, Imani, MF, and Smith, DR. "Synthetic aperture radar imaging with reconfigurable 1d dynamic metasurface apertures." January 1, 2018.

Diebold, AV, Pulido-Mancera, L, Sleasman, T, Boyarsky, M, Imani, MF, and Smith, DR. "Near-field SAR imaging with dynamic metasurface antennas using an adapted range migration algorithm." January 1, 2018. Full Text

Boyarsky, M, Sleasman, T, Pulido-Mancera, L, Diebold, AV, Imani, MF, and Smith, DR. "Aperture synthesis with a monochromatic metasurface imaging system for 3D near-field imaging." January 1, 2018. Full Text

Pulido-Mancera, L, Imani, MF, Bowen, PT, and Smith, DR. "Extracting polarizability of complementary metamaterial elements using equivalence principles." November 14, 2017. Full Text

Stewart, JW, Akselrod, GM, Smith, DR, and Mikkelsen, MH. "Multispectral metasurface absorbers for optoelectronic devices." October 25, 2017. Full Text

Yurduseven, O, Gollub, JN, Marks, DL, and Smith, DR. "Alignment Correction for antenna scans in imaging." October 18, 2017. Full Text

Fromenteze, T, Boyarsky, M, Yurduseven, O, Gollub, J, Marks, DL, and Smith, DR. "Computational polarimetric localization with a radiating metasurface." October 18, 2017. Full Text

Yurduseven, O, Marks, DL, Gollub, JN, and Smith, DR. "Synthesizing a frequency-diverse aperture for security-screening applications." October 18, 2017. Full Text

Suthakar, U, Magnoni, L, Smith, DR, and Khan, A. "Optimised lambda architecture for monitoring wlcg using spark and spark streaming." October 16, 2017. Full Text