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

Sleasman, T., et al. “Dynamic metamaterial aperture for microwave imaging.” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 107, no. 20, Nov. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4935941. Full Text

Lipworth, Guy, et al. “Comprehensive simulation platform for a metamaterial imaging system.Applied Optics, vol. 54, no. 31, Nov. 2015, pp. 9343–53. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ao.54.009343. Full Text

Ren, Y., et al. “Fast response of electron-scale turbulence to auxiliary heating cessation in National Spherical Torus Experiment.” Physics of Plasmas, vol. 22, no. 11, Nov. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4935113. Full Text

Benedicto, Jessica, et al. “Numerical tool to take nonlocal effects into account in metallo-dielectric multilayers.Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, Image Science, and Vision, vol. 32, no. 8, Aug. 2015, pp. 1581–88. Epmc, doi:10.1364/josaa.32.001581. Full Text

Liu, Xiaojun, et al. “Clarifying the origin of third-harmonic generation from film-coupled nanostripes.Optics Express, vol. 23, no. 15, July 2015, pp. 19565–74. Epmc, doi:10.1364/oe.23.019565. Full Text

Baron, A., et al. “Ultrafast self-action of surface-plasmon polaritons at an air/metal interface.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 91, no. 19, May 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.91.195412. Full Text

Fromenteze, T., et al. “Computational imaging using a mode-mixing cavity at microwave frequencies.” Applied Physics Letters, vol. 106, no. 19, May 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4921081. Full Text

Ciracì, C., et al. “Third-harmonic generation in the presence of classical nonlocal effects in gap-plasmon nanostructures.” Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, vol. 91, no. 20, May 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.91.205403. Full Text

Akselrod, Gleb M., et al. “Leveraging Nanocavity Harmonics for Control of Optical Processes in 2D Semiconductors.Nano Letters, vol. 15, no. 5, May 2015, pp. 3578–84. Epmc, doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01062. Full Text

Diallo, A., et al. “Correlations between quasi-coherent fluctuations and the pedestal evolution during the inter-edge localized modes phase on DIII-D.” Physics of Plasmas, vol. 22, no. 5, May 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4921148. Full Text


Bobor-Oyibo, F., et al. “Modelling and analysis of a smart antenna system with sub-sector dynamic capacity enhancement for mobile telecommunication networks.” Proceedings of the 2012 8th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing, Csndsp 2012, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1109/CSNDSP.2012.6292742. Full Text

Smith, D. R., et al. “Diagnostic performance of the beam emission spectroscopy system on the National Spherical Torus Experiment.” Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 83, no. 10, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4728094. Full Text

Smith, D., et al. “A modified holographic technique for cylindrical near-field antenna measurements.” Proceedings of 6th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Eucap 2012, 2012, pp. 2528–32. Scopus, doi:10.1109/EuCAP.2012.6205933. Full Text

Walker, T. E., and D. R. Smith. “The use of swept-charge devices in planetary analogue X-ray fluorescence studies.” Journal of Instrumentation, vol. 7, no. 7, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1748-0221/7/07/C07004. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Design of a highly efficient beam scanning asymmetric H-plane horn antenna.” 2012 Ieee International Workshop on Antenna Technology, Iwat 2012, 2012, pp. 108–11. Scopus, doi:10.1109/IWAT.2012.6178410. Full Text

Bobor-Oyibo, F., et al. “A smart antenna system with sub-sector dynamic capacity enhancement for mobile telecommunication networks.” 2012 Ieee International Workshop on Antenna Technology, Iwat 2012, 2012, pp. 100–03. Scopus, doi:10.1109/IWAT.2012.6178408. Full Text

Weider, S. Z., et al. “The Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer: First results.” Planetary and Space Science, vol. 60, no. 1, 2012, pp. 217–28. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2011.08.014. Full Text

Hobson, P. R., et al. “Effect of gamma radiation on potential ionising radiation detectors and dosimeters based on quantum dots.” Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 2011, pp. 3015–17. Scopus, doi:10.1109/NSSMIC.2011.6152542. Full Text

Smith, D., et al. “The use of indirect holographic techniques for microwave imaging.” 2010 10th Mediterranean Microwave Symposium, Mms 2010, 2010, pp. 192–95. Scopus, doi:10.1109/MMW.2010.5605192. Full Text

Jiang, Y., et al. “A low profile radiating element with nearly hemispheric coverage for satellite communications on-the-move hybrid array antenna.” 2010 7th International Symposium on Communication Systems, Networks and Digital Signal Processing, Csndsp 2010, 2010, pp. 123–27.