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

Chen, H., et al. “Special issue on transformation optics.” Journal of Optics (United Kingdom), vol. 18, no. 4, Jan. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1088/2040-8978/18/4/040201. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Software Calibration of a Frequency-Diverse, Multistatic, Computational Imaging System.” Ieee Access, vol. 4, Jan. 2016, pp. 2488–97. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2016.2570678. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Design and Simulation of a Frequency-Diverse Aperture for Imaging of Human-Scale Targets.” Ieee Access, vol. 4, Jan. 2016, pp. 5436–51. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2016.2604823. Full Text

Pulido-Mancera, L. M., et al. “Discrete Dipole Approximation Applied to Highly Directive Slotted Waveguide Antennas.” Ieee Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, vol. 15, Jan. 2016, pp. 1823–26. Scopus, doi:10.1109/LAWP.2016.2538202. Full Text

Odabasi, H., et al. “Investigation of alignment errors on multi-static microwave imaging based on frequency-diverse metamaterial apertures.” Progress in Electromagnetics Research B, vol. 70, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 101–12. Scopus, doi:10.2528/PIERB16052801. Full Text

Gowda, V. R., et al. “Wireless Power Transfer in the Radiative Near Field.” Ieee Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, vol. 15, Jan. 2016, pp. 1865–68. Scopus, doi:10.1109/LAWP.2016.2542138. Full Text

Bowen, Patrick T., et al. “Wake control with permeable multilayer structures: The spherical symmetry case.Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, vol. 92, no. 6, Dec. 2015, p. 063030. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physreve.92.063030. Full Text

Ruiz Ruiz, J., et al. “Stabilization of electron-scale turbulence by electron density gradient in national spherical torus experiment.” Physics of Plasmas, vol. 22, no. 12, Dec. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1063/1.4936110. Full Text

Akselrod, Gleb M., et al. “Large-Area Metasurface Perfect Absorbers from Visible to Near-Infrared.Advanced Materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), vol. 27, no. 48, Dec. 2015, pp. 8028–34. Epmc, doi:10.1002/adma.201503281. Full Text

Huang, Zhiqin, et al. “Optical bistability with film-coupled metasurfaces.Optics Letters, vol. 40, no. 23, Dec. 2015, pp. 5638–41. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ol.40.005638. Full Text


Quinn, H., et al. “On-orbit results for the xilinx virtex-4 FPGA.” Ieee Radiation Effects Data Workshop, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1109/REDW.2012.6353715. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “Design of a highly efficient wideband suspended solar array antenna.” Ieee Antennas and Propagation Society, Ap S International Symposium (Digest), 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1109/APS.2012.6348555. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “A triband short-circuited suspended solar patch antenna.” 2012 10th International Symposium on Antennas, Propagation and Em Theory, Isape 2012, 2012, pp. 294–97. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ISAPE.2012.6408767. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., and D. Smith. “Symmetric/asymmetric H-plane horn fed offset parabolic reflector antenna with switchable pencil/fan-beam radiation characteristics.” 2012 10th International Symposium on Antennas, Propagation and Em Theory, Isape 2012, 2012, pp. 82–85. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ISAPE.2012.6408713. Full Text

Yurduseven, O., et al. “A meshed multiband solar patch array antenna.” Lapc 2012  2012 Loughborough Antennas and Propagation Conference, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1109/LAPC.2012.6403083. Full Text

Baharin, R., et al. “Effect of gamma radiation on potential ionising radiation detectors and dosimeters based on quantum dots.” Ieee Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 2012, pp. 3228–31. Scopus, doi:10.1109/NSSMIC.2012.6551737. Full Text

Walker, T. E., and D. R. Smith. “Development of a laboratory based XRF facility for measuring elemental abundance ratios in planetary analogue powder samples.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 8453, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.926978. Full Text

Walker, T. E., and D. R. Smith. “The effects of radiation damage on the spectral resolution of the Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer over the full mission duration.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 8453, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.926983. Full Text

Baharin, R., et al. “Development of an ionising radiation detector based on quantum dots absorbed in porous glass.” Proceedings of the Ieee Conference on Nanotechnology, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1109/NANO.2012.6322009. 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