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Ronald M. Gilgenbach

Contact Information:

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 Bioelectromagnetism and Plasma 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.

Recent Graduate Students Supervised by R. M. Gilgenbach:

  1. Joel S. Lash, "Ionization Dynamics of Laser Ablation and a Laser-Ablation-Assisted-Plasma-Discharge Ion Source" (defense March 21, 1996), employed by Sandia National Labs.
  2. Jonathan Hochman, "Microwave Emission of Large and Small Orbit Rectangular Gyrotron Devices" (defense April 15, 1998), employed by Raytheon.
  3. Joshua Rintamaki, "Effects of RF plasma Processing on the Impedance and Electron Emission properties of a MV Beam Diode" (defense December 14, 1998), employed by General Electric Lighting.
  4. Scott Kovaleski, "Dynamics of Electron Beam Ablation" (defense May 10, 1999), employed by Dynacs.
  5. Reginald Jaynes, "Generation of High Power Microwaves in a Large Orbit Coaxial Gyrotron" (defense January 17, 2000), employed by Raytheon.
  6. William Cohen, "Optical Spectroscopy and Effects of Plasma in High Power Microwave Gyrotron Experiments" (defense May 10, 2000), employed by General Electric Lighting.
  7. Chris Peters, "Time-Frequency Analysis of High Power Microwave Sources" (defense December 1, 2000), employed by Lockheed Martin.
  8. Bo Qi, "Ablation Plasma Ion Implantation" (defense July 2, 2002), employed by Applied Materials Corp.
  9. Mike Lopez, "Experiments on a Relativistic Magnetron Driven by a Microsecond Electron Beam Accelerator with a Ceramic Insulating Stack" (defense September 8, 2003).
  10. Mark Johnston, "Ionization Dynamics of a Single Wire Z-Pinch" (defense April 22, 2004).
  11. Michael Jones, "Cathode Priming of Relativistic Magnetrons" (defense April 11, 2005), employed by Sandia National Labs.
  12. V. Bogdan Neculaes, "Magnetron magnetic Priming for Rapid Startup and Noise Reduction"(defense April 11, 2005), employed by General Electric Lighting.
  13. David Jordan, "Ultrawideband Electrochemotherapy" (defense August 19, 2005), employed by Medical Physics Consultants.
  14. Yoshiteru Hidaka (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), "Experimental and Simulational Studies of the University of Michigan Large ECR Source as an Electron Propulsion Neutralizer" (defense December 5, 2005), employed by Brookhaven National Labs.
  15. Will White, "RF Priming of a Long-Pulse Relativistic Magnetron" (defense December 5, 2005), employed by Air Force Research Lab, Kirtland AFB, NM.
  16. Trevor Strickler (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), "Azimuthal Wire Motion and Ablation Dynamics in Z-Pinches" (defense July 21, 2006).
  17. Nicholas Jordan (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), "Laser Fabrication of High-K Dielectrics for High Current Cathodes" (defense December 17, 2007), employed by Cybernet Systems, Ann Arbor, MI.
  18. Brad Hoff, "Magnetic Priming of a Relativistic Magnetron" (defense May 7, 2009), employed by Air Force Research Lab, Kirtland AFB, NM.
  19. Matthew R. Gomez, "Experimental Examination of Plasma Formation and Current Loss in Post-Hole Convolutes" (defense November 18,2010), employed by Sandia National Labs.
  20. David French (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), "Investigations of Novel Configurations for High Power Microwave Generation" (defense December 2, 2010).
  21. Jacob Zier (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), "Ablation Dynamics and Instabilities of Metallic Plasmas Generated Using Mega-Ampere-Scale Current Drivers" (defense December 6, 2010), employed by Naval Research Labs.
  22. Matt Franzi (co-chair with Y.Y. Lau), “Relativistic Recirculating Planar Magnetrons” (defense February 24, 2014), employed by Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

Books and Refereed Journal Publications

(1995 to Present)