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Recent News

First shot on BLUE!

2019-11-21 BLUE is the new 800-kV, 200-kA linear transformer driver (LTD) facility being constructed in the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory at the University of Michigan. The construction of BLUE is being led by Prof. Ryan McBride and PhD student Brendan Sporer. The four LTD cavities for BLUE were donated from the 21-cavity Ursa Minor facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM – hence the name “BLUE” (Bestowed LTD from the Ursa-minor Experiment). BLUE will be used to drive high-power microwave sources as well as fast z-pinch plasmas for experiments in nuclear fusion and x-ray generation.

Nonthermal plasma wand could help decontaminate hospitals, public transit

2020-05-15 Professors John Foster and Mirko Gamba are developing a portable device using the advanced oxydation process to rapidly disinfect various surfaces.

The PlasmaPy Project

2020-05-04 The mission of the PlasmaPy Project is to grow an open source software ecosystem for plasma research and education, and one that is customized to the needs of the community as well as developed by members of the community itself. Among the many goals of this project, it aims to decrease repetition and wasted effort in programming; improve scientific reproduciblity, code readability and maintainability; and provide a platform for openly developing and sharing code throughout the plasma research community. Some of these goals have been reflected in the recent CPP Strategic Plan report, being called out specifically by name in the section on DPS Collaborative programmatic recommendations. This project recently received an NSF grant through the Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation program (CSSI) to rapidly expand functionality as well as to develop training, instructional, and educational material through online resources and in-person workshops.

New cohort of MIPSE Fellows

2020-04-16 Eight students from U-M and MSU were named MIPSE Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year. The new fellows will receive a $4,500 grant that can be used for an enhancement to their research. They will also have the opportunity to be partners with MIPSE on many exciting projects.

U-M teams work to disinfect masks for medical personnel

2020-04-05 U-M engineers are developing efficient, effective, and scalable ways to disinfect N95 masks, which are typically discarded after one use. Professors Herek Clack and Mirko Gamba are part of the team working on testing the masks after treatment.

U-M Leads $62M ‘Largest Radio Telescope in Space’ Mission

2020-03-31 Prof. Justin Kasper leads a new $62.6 million NASA mission, which aims to provide better information on how the sun’s radiation affects the space environment that our spacecraft and astronauts travel through. The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, consists of miniature satellites that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. SunRISE, expected to launch in 2023, will offer a never-before-seen glimpse at what goes on in the solar corona.

John Nees wins Research Scientist Award

2020-02-04 John Nees, Associate Research Scientist, has received the Kenneth M. Reese Outstanding Research Scientist Award from the College of Engineering. This award honors research scientists who have “demonstrated sustained excellence in research and related scholarly activities.” Nees is honored for his excellence in research and scholarship, as well as his distinguished career as a key member of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science.

Mark Moldwin receives the Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award

2020-01-23 Prof. Mark Moldwin will receive the 2019-2020 Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award. This award is given to faculty who have “…demonstrated significant service contribution at the College and/or University levels.”

Paul Drake receives the H. Scott Fogler Award for Professional Leadership and Service

2020-01-23 Prof. R. Paul Drake will receive the 2019-2020 H. Scott Fogler Award for Professional Leadership and Service. This award is given to faculty who demonstrate “…significant national or international impact on the field of engineering through leadership or service external to the College of Engineering.”

Most powerful laser in the U.S. to be built at U-M

2019-09-18 The United States is upgrading its laser capabilities with ZEUS, a new 3-petawatt system to be built at the University of Michigan.

Carolyn Kuranz elected APS Fellow

2019-09-16 Prof. Carolyn Kuranz has been elected a 2019 Fellow of the American Physical Society “For spearheading academic use of the National Ignition Facility for seminal experiments in plasma laboratory astrophysics, specifically the effects of locally generated intense radiation on an interface and on astrophysically relevant interfacial instabilities.”

John Foster named an APS-DPP Distinguished Lecturer, 2019-2020

2019-08-15 The Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society has selected Prof. Foster as a Distinguished Lecturer for 2019-2020. This Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is intended to share with the larger scientific community the exciting recent advances in plasma physics. The title of Prof. Foster's talk is “Lightning in a canteen: The promise of plasma-treated refreshment for survival.”

Matt Gomez wins Presidential Early Career Award

2019-08-01 Dr. Matthew Gomez of Sandia National Lab, a MIPSE alum and a recent seminar speaker, received a PECASE award “for exceptional leadership and contributions to innovative research in high-energy density physics and leadership of the magnetically amplified inertial fusion effort; and for his formidable commitment and exemplary role modeling to develop a community of scientists and engineers.”

MIPSE co-sponsors the First Community Workshop for HEDP

2019-07-30 MIPSE was pleased to co-sponsor the First Community Workshop for High Energy Density Physics. This workshop, co-chaired by Prof. Carolyn Kuranz, is part of the Community Planning Process (CPP) conducted by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics.

Carolyn Kuranz joins NERS faculty

2019-06-12 Prof. Carolyn Kuranz accepted the position of an Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences.

August Evrard receives Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize

2019-04-26 Prof. August Evrard was honored with the 11th annual Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize for his project, Problem Roulette: A Stress-free Practice Zone for Student Learning.

Brandon Russell receives Rackham International Student Fellowship

2019-02-13 Brandon Russell (ECE) was awarded the Rackham International Student Fellowship for his research on magnetic fields in high-energy plasmas, which could help advance the development of clean energy and our understanding of energetic astrophysical phenomena.

Alec Gallimore inducted into the National Academy of Engineering

2019-02-07 Prof. Alec Gallimore, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, has been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for advanced spacecraft electric propulsion, especially Hall thruster technology.

Plasma 2020 call for white papers


The US National Academies has recently started the Decadal Assessment of Plasma Science - Plasma 2020. The Plasma 2020 committee invites the US and international plasma science and technology communities to submit white papers addressing past accomplishments, future science challenges, opportunities to provide societal benefit, needed interdisciplinary collaborations and means to enhance careers in the fields of plasma science and technology. Please submit white papers by March 8, 2019.

First Women in MIPSE luncheon

2018-11-14 Women in MIPSE luncheons were recently inaugurated to bring U-M women students and post-doctoral fellows in plasmas fields together, providing a community to share experiences, insights, and resources to support each other. The first lunch, held November 14, 2018, was organized by Janis Lai (NERS). The honorary guest, Dr. Svetlana Starikovskaia of Laboratory of Plasma Physics, CNRS, France, shared her research and teaching experiences with six Women in MIPSE members.

The HERCULES laser receives $1 million

2018-11-07 U-M will receive $1 million through the LaserNetUS initiative for providing time on the HERCULES laser, the reigning world champion for laser intensity at 20 sextillion (2x1022) watts per centimeter squared.

Alec Thomas elected Fellow of APS

2018-09-22 Prof. Alec Thomas has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society "for contributions to the experimental and theoretical understanding of short pulse high intensity laser plasma interactions and in particular for the development of laser wakefield accelerators and the generation of x-rays from these beams."

MIPSE welcomes a new cohort of Fellows

2018-04-25 Seven graduate students have been named MIPSE Fellows 2018-2019: Austin Brenner and Zachariah Brown (Aerospace Engineering, U-M); Kenneth Chung (Civil Engineering, U-M); Forrest Glines (Astronomy/Computer Science and Engineering, MSU); Amina Hussein (Applied Physics, U-M); Agnit Mukhopadhyay and Yeimy Rivera (Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, U-M).

Stephanie Miller receives DOE NNSA Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship

2018-04-17 Stephanie Miller (NERS) has been selected to receive the Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration. For her LRGF research, Stephanie will spend two 12-week residencies at Sandia National Labs, working with the pulsed-power sciences and inertial confinement fusion (ICF) groups. She will be working to transfer the technology and diagnostic techniques that she is developing here at U-M to the 30-MA Z facility at Sandia.

Yao Kovach wins Eye on Research photo contest

2018-04-13 Yao E. Kovach (NERS) is a winner of Eye on Research, a graduate student photo contest aimed at capturing the excitement, range, color and creativity of research. In her plasma picture, the self-organization pattern shows a perfectly symmetrical spoke structure with center convergence on the anode surface of sodium chloride solution at 80mA. Above the plasma spokes, a golden yellow colored prominent halo that surrounds the white colored main plasma column along with 8 millimeter gap in the air. Below the plasma spokes, the image shows a salt water reflection of the halo with helium plasma emitted from the 500 micrometer center of a hollow shaped cathode. From the spectroscopic analysis, we determined the golden yellow colored of the halo is due to the sodium glow from the vapor of the liquid. These blue colored plasma spokes have a size of around 25 micrometer and 85 micrometer in width and length respectively.

Ryan McBride receives the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

2018-02-21 The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has announced awards of $16 million through its 2018 Young Investigator Program (YIP). The awards were made to young scientists whose research holds strong promise across a wide range of naval-relevant science and technology areas. Prof. Ryan McBride's winning project title is "High-Power Microwave Generation by Compact Linear Transformer Driver Technology."