David R. Smith

David R. Smith

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Director of the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics

Professor of Physics (Secondary)

Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

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, San Diego 1994

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

Selected Grants

DURIP: Laser awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2012

Detection of Biomolecules by Nanoscale Plasmon Ruler awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2012

Radar Blockage Elimination awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2012


Marks, Daniel L., and David R. Smith. “Inverse scattering with a non self-adjoint variational formulation.Optics Express, vol. 26, no. 6, Mar. 2018, pp. 7655–71. Epmc, doi:10.1364/oe.26.007655. Full Text

Diebold, Aaron V., et al. “Phaseless computational ghost imaging at microwave frequencies using a dynamic metasurface aperture.Applied Optics, vol. 57, no. 9, Mar. 2018, pp. 2142–49. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ao.57.002142. Full Text

Yurduseven, Okan, et al. “Dynamically reconfigurable holographic metasurface aperture for a Mills-Cross monochromatic microwave camera.Optics Express, vol. 26, no. 5, Mar. 2018, pp. 5281–91. Epmc, doi:10.1364/oe.26.005281. Full Text

Gowda, V. R., et al. “Focusing Microwaves in the Fresnel Zone with a Cavity-Backed Holographic Metasurface.” Ieee Access, vol. 6, Feb. 2018, pp. 12815–24. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2802379. Full Text

Jia, Xiaomeng, et al. “Clarification of surface modes of a periodic nanopatch metasurface.Optics Express, vol. 26, no. 3, Feb. 2018, pp. 3004–12. Epmc, doi:10.1364/oe.26.003004. Full Text

Zvolensky, T., et al. “W-band sparse imaging system using frequency diverse cavity-fed metasurface antennas.” Ieee Access, vol. 6, Jan. 2018, pp. 73659–68. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2883402. Full Text

Marks, Daniel L., and David R. Smith. “Mode diversity of weakly modulated cavity antennas.Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, Image Science, and Vision, vol. 35, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 135–47. Epmc, doi:10.1364/josaa.35.000135. Full Text

Caira, Nicholas W., and David R. Smith. “Multispectral metasurface hologram at millimeter wavelengths.Applied Optics, vol. 57, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. A19–25. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ao.57.000a19. Full Text

Zeng, Beibei, et al. “Hybrid graphene metasurfaces for high-speed mid-infrared light modulation and single-pixel imaging.Light, Science & Applications, vol. 7, Jan. 2018, p. 51. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41377-018-0055-4. Full Text

Sharma, A., et al. “A K-Band Backscatter Fiducial for Continuous Calibration in Coherent Millimeter-Wave Imaging.” Ieee Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 66, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 431–38. Scopus, doi:10.1109/TMTT.2017.2723889. Full Text


Yurduseven, O., et al. “Computational frequency-diverse microwave imaging using an air-filled cavity-backed antenna.” 2017 11th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Eucap 2017, 2017, pp. 3589–92. Scopus, doi:10.23919/EuCAP.2017.7928063. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Optimization of frequency-diverse antennas for computational imaging at microwave frequencies.” 2017 11th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Eucap 2017, 2017, pp. 1410–14. Scopus, doi:10.23919/EuCAP.2017.7928064. Full Text

Fromenteze, T., et al. “Single-frequency near-field MIMO imaging.” 2017 11th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Eucap 2017, 2017, pp. 1415–18. Scopus, doi:10.23919/EuCAP.2017.7928576. Full Text

Klugmann, D., et al. “Optimisation of millimetre wave amplifiers for satellite based radiometer.” Proceedings of Ieee 9th Uk Europe China Workshop on Millimetre Waves and Terahertz Technologies, Ucmmt 2016, 2017, pp. 82–83. Scopus, doi:10.1109/UCMMT.2016.7873969. Full Text

Nashad, F., et al. “Development of transparent patch antenna element integrated with solar cells for Ku-band satellite applications.” 2016 Loughborough Antennas and Propagation Conference, Lapc 2016, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1109/LAPC.2016.7807579. Full Text

Stewart, J. W., et al. “Multispectral metasurface absorbers for optoelectronic devices.” Optics Infobase Conference Papers, vol. Part F41-CLEO_SI 2017, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1364/CLEO_SI.2017.SM3N.4. Full Text

Smith, D. R., et al. “Security screening via computational imaging using frequency-diverse metasurface apertures.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 10189, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2262899. Full Text

Boyarsky, M., et al. “Alternative synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modalities using a 1D dynamic metasurface antenna.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 10189, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2262855. Full Text

Sleasman, T., et al. “Reconfigurable metasurface aperture for security screening and microwave imaging.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 10189, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2262848. Full Text

Pulido Mancera, L., et al. “Adapting range migration techniques for imaging with metasurface antennas: Analysis and limitations.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 10201, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2262906. Full Text