Ronald M. Gilgenbach

Ronald Gilgenbach is the Chihiro Kikuchi Collegiate Professor in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department at the University of Michigan. He served as NERS Department Chair from 2010-2018, during which time he conceived and built the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory Building. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University in 1978. His B.S. (1972) and M.S. (1973) degrees were received at the University of Wisconsin. In the early 1970’s he spent several years as a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Labs. From 1978-1980, he performed gyrotron research at the Naval Research Lab (NRL) and performed the first electron cyclotron heating experiments on a tokamak plasma in the USA at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Gilgenbach joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1980 and became Director of the Plasma, Pulsed Power and Microwave Laboratory.

At UM, Dr. Gilgenbach has supervised or co-supervised 50 graduated Ph.D. students, has published some 180 articles in refereed journals and has 5 patents granted. He originated a new course on particle accelerators and updated the plasma curriculum. His research at Michigan has concentrated on advanced particle accelerators, electron beams, plasma physics, high power microwave generation, as well as biological interactions of radio-frequency and ultrawideband radiation, particularly for killing cancer cells. He has collaborated in research with scientists at Air Force Research Lab, Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Lab, NASA Glenn, Northrop-Grumman, L-3 Communications, General Motors Research Labs, Fermilab, Naval Research Lab and the Institute of High Current Electronics (Russia). He received the UM College of Engineering Research Award in 1993, the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1984) and the 1997 Plasma Sciences and Applications Committee (PSAC) Award from the IEEE, served as PSAC Chair in 2007-2008 and received an Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the American Nuclear Society.  He is the 2017 recipient of the Peter Haas Pulsed Power Award from the IEEE Pulsed Power Science and Technology Committee.  He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics and Fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He is a past Associate Editor of the journal, Physics of Plasmas.

Yue Ying Lau


Y. Y. Lau was born in Hong Kong. He received the B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA, in 1968, 1970, and 1973, respectively.

He was an Instructor and then an Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics with MIT from 1973 to 1979. He was a Research Physicist with Science Applications Inc., McLean, VA, USA, from 1980 to 1983, and the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA, from 1983 to 1992. Since 1992, he has been a Professor with the Applied Physics Program and the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. He has been involved in electron beams, coherent radiation sources, plasmas, and discharges. He has authored over 190 refereed publications. He holds ten patents. His current research interests include heating phenomenology, physics of quantum and higher dimensional diodes, Thomson X-ray sources, and electrical contacts.

Dr. Lau was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1986. He was a recipient of the Sigma-Xi Scientific Society Applied Science Award in 1989, and the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award in 1999. He served three terms as an Associate Editor of the Physics of Plasmas journal. He was a Guest Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science Special Issue on High Power Microwave Generation.  He was the recipient of the IEEE 2017 John R. Pierce Award for excellence in vacuum electronics.

Ryan McBride
Associate Professor

Dr. Ryan D. McBride is an associate professor in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  His primary research interests are in plasma physics, nuclear fusion, radiation generation, pulsed-power technology, plasma diagnostics, and the dynamics of magnetically driven, cylindrically imploding systems. His research is conducted primarily within the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory, which includes two linear transformer driver (LTD) facilities: MAIZE (~1 MA, ~100 ns) and BLUE (~150 kA, ~100 ns).  He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2009, where he conducted experimental research on wire-array z-pinch implosions using the 1-MA COBRA pulsed-power facility.  In 2008-2016, Dr. McBride was with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, where he held appointments as both a staff physicist and a department manager.  At Sandia, Dr. McBride conducted research in nuclear fusion, radiation generation, and high-pressure material properties using the 20-MA Z pulsed-power facility.  Most recently, Dr. McBride’s research has been focused on both experimental and theoretical studies of magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF).  MagLIF is presently one of the United States’ three mainline approaches to studying controlled inertial confinement fusion (ICF) in the laboratory.

Nicholas Jordan
Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Jordan received the B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. (plasma option) degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science from the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, MI, USA, in 2002, 2004, and 2008, respectively. From 2008-2013, he was with Cybernet Systems, Ann Arbor, MI, where he was involved in the development of microwave vehicle stopping technology. He is an Associate Research Scientist in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Lab Manager for the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory.  His current research interests include high-power microwave devices, pulsed power, laser ablation, high energy-density physics, and plasma discharges.

Thomas Mehlhorn
Adjunct Professor


Roman Shapovalov
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Dr. Roman Shapovalov earned his Ph.D. from Idaho State University in 2016. There he developed a novel, compact and portable pulser for x-pinch applications. After completion of his PhD, Dr. Shapovalov was with the University of Rochester (2017-2019), where he conducted research on pulsed-power development for plasma experiments. In January 2020, Dr. Shapovalov joined the University of Michigan, Plasma, Pulsed Power & Microwave Lab, where he continues his research in pulsed power with emphasis on high power microwave generation.
He holds two master degrees, first from Kharkiv State University (1997), Ukraine, for his research of photodisintegration of nitrogen in the intermediate energy region, and second from Idaho State University (2012), for the study of two neutron correlations in photofission of actinides. After graduation, Roman worked at Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (1997–2007), Ukraine, where he was responsible for nuclear-fuel-load safety simulations.
In his spare time, Roman is a recreational runner, exploring nearby trails and training for his next marathon.

Graduate Students

Brendan Sporer

Brendan Sporer received an undergraduate dual degree in Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University, and is now a first year PhD student of Dr. McBride. His research focusses on the construction of a new pulsed power system based on Linear Transformer Driver (LTD) technology in the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Lab at Michigan. LTDs are critical for the next generation of PW-class accelerators for high yield inertial fusion. His interests lie in controlled fusion and nuclear powered/propelled spacecraft.


George Dowhan


Stephanie Miller
Stephanie Miller



Chris Swenson


Trevor Smith


Donovan White

Ryan Revolinsky
Ryan Revolinsky received a triple bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico, in Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering and Physics in 2021. Now, he is currently working on pulsed power systems with a focus on high power crossed field devices (microwaves) under Professor Gilgenbach and Dr. Jordan’s supervision. Specifically, his research entails work with recirculating planar magnetrons, magnetically insulated transmission line oscillators, and crossed field amplifiers. Another project he is working on is modernizing and retrofitting Michigan Electron Long Beam Accelerator (MELBA) control system. Also, he has completed an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the LSEO division in Livermore, California.


Joseph Chen



Emma Guerin



Levi Welch



Landon Tafoya



Adam Brusstar


Undergraduate Students

Dion Li (theoretical advances on Ramo-Shockley theorem)
Chip Peterson
Milo Parrott
Isaac Sarbacker

Past Graduates