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
Assistant 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 Assistant 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.

Graduate Students

Darryl Watkins Chris Swenson

Abhijit Jassem

Paul Campbell
    Abhijit Jassem received his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University in 2016 and is currently a 3rd year PhD student in the University of Michigan’s Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences program where he works under Dr. Y. Y. Lau on traveling wave tubes, backward wave oscillations, thermionic emission, and other topics pertaining to the field of vacuum electronics.  
George Dowhan Drew Packard
Stephanie Miller

Jeff Woolstrum

  Drew A. Packard (S’17) received the B.S.E and M.S.E degrees in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, in 2016 and 2017, respectively. He is currently a Graduate Student performing research on high-power microwave devices for Professor Gilgenbach with the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory. He has completed two internships at L-3 Communications, Electron Devices Division, San Carlos, CA, USA. Stephanie Miller is a third year PhD student at the University of Michigan in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department where she works on projects related to Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion (MagLIF).  Her research is focused on improving laser energy coupling to the fusion fuel inside of gas filled MagLIF targets and studying how low density plasmas within pulsed-power anode-cathode gaps effect driver-target coupling. She is a recipient of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship (LRGF) and will be conducting her LRGF residencies at Sandia National Laboratories. Jeff Woolstrum received his B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2017. He is now a Ph.D. student studying under Prof. Ryan McBride in the Nuclear Engineering department also at the University of Michigan. He is currently exploring flux compression of magnetic fields, development of helical instability modes, and other phenomena relevant to magnetized cylindrical liner implosions used in inertial confinement fusion. He conducts most of his research in 3D simulation using both extended and resistive magnetohydrodynamic codes, while also working to provide experimental verification of these codes.

Nick Ramey

Stephen Langellotti

Akash Shah

Brendan Sporer

Nicholas B. Ramey received the B.S.E. degree in Engineering Physics from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA in 2017. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, MI, USA. At UM, Nicholas is a member of the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory under co-advisors Ron Gilgenbach and Ryan McBride. His primary research interests concern warm dense matter generation on an electron linear induction accelerator and characterization with X-ray diagnostics at Los Alamos National Laboratory under Josh Coleman.   Akash Shah is an Applied Physics doctoral student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his BS in Physics and BA in Mathematics from the University of Southern California in 2017. His research revolves around nuclear fusion and pulsed-power technology within the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences department in the Plasma, Pulsed-Power, and Microwave Laboratory. Here, Akash is currently developing a Dense Plasma Focus for integration into the MAIZE linear transformer driver (LTD). 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.
Trevor Smith

Rodrigo Rovner    
Trevor Johannes Smith received his B.S.E. in Engineering Physics with a focus in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences from the University of Michigan in 2018. He is currently a masters student working in the Plasmas, Pulsed Power, & Microwave Laboratory under Professor Ryan D. McBride. His primary research focuses in low density plasma generation in pulsed power anode-cathode gaps and  ultraviolet radiation characterization.      

Undergraduate Students

Emma Guerin (Multipactor)
Thomas Mundy
Grant Young (LTD LTSpice modeling, inductance calculations)
MaryKate Bossard
Dion Li

Technical Support / Safety 

Mark Perrault

Past Graduates