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

Sechrest, Y., et al. “Comparison of beam emission spectroscopy and gas puff imaging edge fluctuation measurements in National Spherical Torus Experiment.” Physics of Plasmas, vol. 22, no. 5, May 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4921215. Full Text

Kaye, S. M., et al. “An overview of recent physics results from NSTX.” Nuclear Fusion, vol. 55, no. 10, Mar. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1088/0029-5515/55/10/104002. Full Text

Lipworth, Guy, et al. “Quasi-Static Magnetic Field Shielding Using Longitudinal Mu-Near-Zero Metamaterials.Scientific Reports, vol. 5, Jan. 2015, p. 12764. Epmc, doi:10.1038/srep12764. Full Text

Hoang, Thang B., et al. “Ultrafast spontaneous emission source using plasmonic nanoantennas.Nature Communications, vol. 6, Jan. 2015, p. 7788. Epmc, doi:10.1038/ncomms8788. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Resolution of the frequency diverse metamaterial aperture imager.” Progress in Electromagnetics Research, vol. 150, Jan. 2015, pp. 97–107. Scopus, doi:10.2528/PIER14113002. Full Text

Larouche, S., et al. “A constitutive description of nonlinear metamaterials through electric, magnetic, and magnetoelectric nonlinearities.” Springer Series in Materials Science, vol. 200, Jan. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-08386-5_1. Full Text

Baron, A., et al. “Scaling of the nonlinear response of the surface plasmon polariton at a metal/dielectric interface.” Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics, vol. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 9–14. Scopus, doi:10.1364/JOSAB.32.000009. Full Text

Chandrasekar, R., et al. “Second harmonic generation with plasmonic metasurfaces: Direct comparison of electric and magnetic resonances.” Optical Materials Express, vol. 5, no. 11, Jan. 2015, pp. 2682–91. Scopus, doi:10.1364/OME.5.002682. Full Text

Chen, Xiaoshu, et al. “Nanogap-enhanced infrared spectroscopy with template-stripped wafer-scale arrays of buried plasmonic cavities.Nano Letters, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 107–13. Epmc, doi:10.1021/nl503126s. Full Text

Lassiter, J. B., et al. “Third-Harmonic Generation Enhancement by Film-Coupled Plasmonic Stripe Resonators.” Acs Photonics, vol. 1, no. 11, Nov. 2014, pp. 1212–17. Scopus, doi:10.1021/ph500276v. Full Text


Smith, D. R., et al. “Overview of the beam emission spectroscopy diagnostic system on the National Spherical Torus Experiment.” Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 81, no. 10, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3478660. Full Text

Schoenbeck, N. L., et al. “Low-noise, high-speed detector development for optical turbulence fluctuation measurements for NSTX.” Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 81, no. 10, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3483196. Full Text

Uzun-Kaymak, I. U., et al. “Ultrafast spectroscopy diagnostic to measure localized ion temperature and toroidal velocity fluctuations.” Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 81, no. 10, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.3479114. Full Text

Walker, T. E., et al. “The effects of radiation damage on the spectral resolution of the Chandrayaan-1 x-ray spectrometer.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 7742, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.858648. Full Text

Fernando, M. J., et al. “A Novel simplified mathematical model for antennas used in medical imaging applications.” Journal of Physics: Conference Series, vol. 255, no. 1, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1742-6596/255/1/012001. Full Text

Baharin, R., et al. “Simulation of MeV electron energy deposition in CdS quantum dots absorbed in silicate glass for radiation dosimetry.” Journal of Physics: Conference Series, vol. 244, 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1742-6596/244/1/012007. Full Text

Fernando, M., et al. “Fundamental issues in antenna design for microwave medical imaging applications.” 2010 7th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing, Csndsp 2010, 2010, pp. 795–800. Scopus, doi:10.1109/csndsp16145.2010.5580323. Full Text

Bobor-Oyibo, F., et al. “The effects of a finite ground plane on the characteristics of printed patch antennas with and without a suspended patch.” 2010 7th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing, Csndsp 2010, 2010, pp. 111–14. Scopus, doi:10.1109/csndsp16145.2010.5580447. Full Text

Lee, W., et al. “Calibration of the collective scattering system on NSTX.” 34th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, Irmmw Thz 2009, 2009. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ICIMW.2009.5325541. Full Text

Jiang, Y., et al. “A new low profile antenna with improved performance for satellite on-the-move communications.” Proceedings  2009 3rd Ieee International Symposium on Microwave, Antenna, Propagation and Emc Technologies for Wireless Communications, Mape 2009, 2009, pp. 59–62. Scopus, doi:10.1109/MAPE.2009.5355557. Full Text