Dr. Dean Smith

( University of Nevada, Las Vegas )


(702) 894-9505
  • Institution:University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Departments: Nevada Extreme Conditions Laboratory, Physics & Astronomy, Geosciences
  • Research Fields: Extreme Conditions, High Pressure, Diamond Anvil Cell
  • Disciplines: Chemical Physics, Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Inorganic Chemistry, Optics/Optical Sciences, Physical Chemistry, Physical Sciences, Physics
  • Funding:UNLV - University of Nevada, Las Vegas


In my time as a postdoctoral scholar at UNLV, I have mentored students ranging from freshman undergraduates to doctoral candidates, assisting with designing and conducting experiments towards their research projects. During my time at Argonne National Laboratory, I served as a direct contact for students working at synchrotron beamlines to assist in collecting and interpreting X-ray data from the large-scale instrument. Now, as a research professor at UNLV, I am responsible for the daily research activities of numerous students in Physics, Chemistry and Geosciences. I have served as graduate committee member for 1× PhD graduate in Physics, and currently serve on 2× graduate committees in Physics and in Geosciences.


As a career diamond anvil cell enthusiast, my research primarily concerns the pursuit of the new structures of materials and chemical compounds emergent under extreme pressures, as well as new methods to measure properties of samples exposed to extreme pressures and temperatures. I began my research in the UK, studying for a Ph.D. with Dr. John Proctor at the University of Salford, and moved to the US as a postdoctoral scholar at UNLV. From there, I spent two years working at HPCAT (Sector 16 of the Advanced Photon Source) – a group of synchrotron beamlines dedicated to the advancement of high-pressure experiments.

Much of my career has been spent developing and refining optical instruments for diamond anvil cell experiments, particularly instruments which interface with synchrotron beamlines. As a postdoc at UNLV, I helped to design and construct a mid-infrared laser heating instrument for experiments at the HPCAT diffraction beamline, facilitating laser-heated DAC experiments on materials spanning semiconductors, ceramics, covalent crystals, and minerals. However, I am a passionate proponent of in-house experiments, and hope to ensure that NEXCL laboratories generate data with the same pace and quality as the large-scale user facilities.