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

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

Transformation Optical Materials awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2016

Broadband Field Directionally Mapping Using Small Maneuverable Acoustic Sensor Arrays awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2015

Automated Micromanufacturing for Optical Sensing and Computational Imaging, Metamaterials, and Quantum Computing awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Co-Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2014


Marks, D. L., and D. R. Smith. “Motion compensation of the transmitter and receiver in bistatic frequency-modulated continuous-wave synthetic aperture radar.” Iet Radar, Sonar and Navigation, vol. 12, no. 11, Nov. 2018, pp. 1336–45. Scopus, doi:10.1049/iet-rsn.2018.5051. Full Text

Liu, Xiaojun, et al. “Enhanced Two-Photon Photochromism in Metasurface Perfect Absorbers.” Nano Letters, vol. 18, no. 10, American Chemical Society (ACS), Oct. 2018, pp. 6181–87. Crossref, doi:10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02042. Full Text

Kriete, D. M., et al. “Extracting the turbulent flow-field from beam emission spectroscopy images using velocimetry.The Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 89, no. 10, Oct. 2018, p. 10E107. Epmc, doi:10.1063/1.5036535. Full Text

Del Hougne, Philipp, et al. “Precise Localization of Multiple Noncooperative Objects in a Disordered Cavity by Wave Front Shaping.Physical Review Letters, vol. 121, no. 6, Aug. 2018, p. 063901. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.121.063901. Full Text

Boyarsky, Michael, et al. “Single-frequency 3D synthetic aperture imaging with dynamic metasurface antennas.Applied Optics, vol. 57, no. 15, May 2018, pp. 4123–34. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ao.57.004123. Full Text

Del Hougne, Philipp, et al. “Dynamic Metasurface Aperture as Smart Around-the-Corner Motion Detector.Scientific Reports, vol. 8, no. 1, Apr. 2018, p. 6536. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24681-9. Full Text

Suthakar, U., et al. “Optimised Lambda Architecture for monitoring scientific infrastructure.” Ieee Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Apr. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1109/TPDS.2017.2772241. Full Text

Marks, Daniel L., and David R. Smith. “Linear solutions to metamaterial volume hologram design using a variational approach.Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, Image Science, and Vision, vol. 35, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 567–76. Epmc, doi:10.1364/josaa.35.000567. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Relaxation of Alignment Errors and Phase Calibration in Computational Frequency-Diverse Imaging using Phase Retrieval.” Ieee Access, vol. 6, Mar. 2018, pp. 14884–94. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2816341. 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


Boyarsky, M., et al. “Synthetic aperture radar imaging with reconfigurable 1d dynamic metasurface apertures.” Proceedings of the European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, Eusar, vol. 2018-June, 2018, pp. 6–11.

Pulido-Mancera, L., et al. “Extracting polarizability of complementary metamaterial elements using equivalence principles.” 2017 11th International Congress on Engineered Material Platforms for Novel Wave Phenomena, Metamaterials 2017, 2017, pp. 268–70. Scopus, doi:10.1109/MetaMaterials.2017.8107915. Full Text

Stewart, J. W., et al. “Multispectral metasurface absorbers for optoelectronic devices.” 2017 Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics, Cleo 2017  Proceedings, vol. 2017-January, 2017, pp. 1–2. Scopus, doi:10.1364/CLEO_SI-2017-SM3N.4. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Synthesizing a frequency-diverse aperture for security-screening applications.” 2017 Ieee Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium, Proceedings, vol. 2017-January, 2017, pp. 2383–84. Scopus, doi:10.1109/APUSNCURSINRSM.2017.8073234. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Alignment Correction for antenna scans in imaging.” 2017 Ieee Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium, Proceedings, vol. 2017-January, 2017, pp. 2381–82. Scopus, doi:10.1109/APUSNCURSINRSM.2017.8073233. Full Text

Fromenteze, T., et al. “Computational polarimetric localization with a radiating metasurface.” 2017 Ieee Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium, Proceedings, vol. 2017-January, 2017, pp. 407–08. Scopus, doi:10.1109/APUSNCURSINRSM.2017.8072246. Full Text

Suthakar, U., et al. “Optimised lambda architecture for monitoring wlcg using spark and spark streaming.” 2016 Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium, Medical Imaging Conference and Room Temperature Semiconductor Detector Workshop, Nss/Mic/Rtsd 2016, vol. 2017-January, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1109/NSSMIC.2016.8069637. Full Text

Klugmann, D., et al. “Millimetre wave front end receivers for the MWS and MWI instruments onboard MetOp-SG satellites.” International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, Irmmw Thz, 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1109/IRMMW-THz.2017.8066886. Full Text

Pulido-Mancera, L., et al. “Discrete dipole approximation for simulation of unusually tapered leaky wave antennas.” Ieee Mtt S International Microwave Symposium Digest, 2017, pp. 409–12. Scopus, doi:10.1109/MWSYM.2017.8058581. 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