Ronald M. Gilgenbach

RG-portraitSmallContact Information:

EMAIL: rmg-email
OFFICE PHONE: (734) 763-1261
LAB PHONE: (734) 763-0213
FAX: (734) 763-4540
ADDRESS: 1941 Cooley Bldg.
LAB: Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory



Biographical Information:

Ronald M. Gilgenbach is Chair and Chihiro Kikuchi Collegiate Professor in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department at the University of Michigan. 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 46 graduated Ph.D. students, has published over 165 articles in refereed journals, and has 4 patents granted and a fifth application filed. 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, NASA Glenn, Northrop-Grumman, L-3 Communications, General Motors Research Labs, Los Alamos National Lab, 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 a Fellow of the IEEE and the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics. He is a past Associate Editor of the journal, Physics of Plasmas.



  • R. M. Gilgenbach, “Electron Beam, Ion Beam, or Neutral Particle Beam – Induced Modification or Enhancement of Combustion Reactions,” US Patent # 4,855,065, Issued 1989.
  • Ya. S. Derbenev, Y. Y. Lau, R. M. Gilgenbach, “Two-Beam Particle Acceleration Method and Apparatus,” US Patent #5483122, Issued Jan. 9, 1996.
  • V. B. Neculaes, R. M. Gilgenbach, and Y. Y. Lau, “Low Noise Cross-Field Devices Such as Microwave Magnetron Having an Azimuthally-Varying Axial Magnetic Field and Microwave Oven Utilizing Same”, US Patent #6,872,929, Issued March 29, 2005 and US Patent #6,921,890, Issued July 26, 2005.
  • R. M. Gilgenbach, Y. Y. Lau, B. W. Hoff, D. M. French and J. W. Luginsland, “Crossed Field Device”, US Patent #8,841,867 B2, Issued Sept. 23, 2014.


Advisor to more than 45 Ph.D. graduates