Current Group Members

Mark Cappelli – Principal Investigator

Professor Cappelli received his B.Sc. degree in Physics (McGill, 1980), and M.A.Sc and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Sciences (Toronto, 1983, 1987). He joined Stanford University in 1987 and is currently a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director of the Engineering Physics Program. He carries out research in applied plasma physics with applications to a broad range of fields, including space propulsion, aerodynamics, medicine, materials synthesis, and fusion.

Ben Wang – PhD Candidate

Benjamin Wang received his B.A. degree in Physics, and double majored in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He obtained a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. His current research is on developing plasma devices for applications in medicine and agriculture, as well as developing open source hardware for research labs.

Taemin Yong – PhD Candidate

Taemin Yong spent his undergraduate studies pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea and got his MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University (2015). His research interests lie in generating plasmas in high pressure conditions and studying their kinetics. During his free time, he enjoys traveling and playing sports, especially table tennis.

William Riedel – PhD Candidate

Will completed a BS from Brown University and MS from Stanford in Electrical Engineering. After a few years as an optical engineer at Apple, he returned to Stanford to study plasma physics. He studies collisionality and kinetic behavior in high-energy, fully ionized plasmas relevant to inertial confinement fusion. His hobbies include basketball, snowboarding, backpacking, and the occasional rafting trip into McCovey Cove.

Andrea Marcovati – PhD Candidate

Andrea was born and raised in Milan, Italy. He received his BSc (2013) in Aerospace Engineering and MSc (2016) in Space Engineering from Politecnico di Milano. Andrea visited Stanford for the first time in 2015 to work on thrust and ion velocity measurements in Hall thrusters. After graduating he worked for the Italian company D-Orbit as a space system engineer. In 2017 Andrea decided to return to Stanford to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and work at SPPL. Andrea’s main research focus is the study of the formation of coherent structures in magnetized plasmas. Other than plasma physics, his interests include anything related to computer science and aerospace. In his spare time, he loves reading a good book and spending time with his beautiful wife Bea and daughter Laurel.

Jesse A. Rodríguez – PhD Candidate

Jesse completed his undergraduate studies at Oregon State University with HBS degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Nuclear Engineering. He obtained a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. He is a devoted cinephile, avid golfer, rabid Laker fan, reluctant marathon runner, stoked snowboarder, broke watch collector, gym rat climber, and average landscape photographer. His research interests include studying plasma jets to gain insight into the fundamental physics of plasma turbulence and plasma photonic crystal devices for strange applications like cloaking and optical computing.

Adura A.T. Jibodu – PhD Candidate

Adura received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. After working as a consultant at Deloitte and a mechanical design engineer at Pratt and Whitney, he came to Stanford to study plasma physics. He is particularly interested in high energy plasmas and fusion applications, and is currently working on developing diagnostic systems to better understand kinetic behavior within such plasmas. Outside of academia, he is interested in cars, fitness, and movies.

Ryan C. Przybocki – PhD Student

Ryan received his undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT after growing up in Austin, Texas.  He is primarily interested in bridging fundamental plasma physics with engineering applications in research, particularly to advance the fields of fusion energy and propulsion.  He is currently working on measurement techniques for laboratory plasmas and seeks to engineer new devices to study plasma collisions.  Outside of research, Ryan enjoys powerlifting, playing guitar, watching The Big Lebowski, and searching for the best coffee in town.

Ahmed Abdalla – Undergraduate Student

Ahmed is a Sudanese American undergraduate researcher currently pursuing a double major in Physics and Math. His budding research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning and photonics. He hopes to continue his studies by pursuing a Ph.D in high-energy physics. When not studying physics, Ahmed divides his time between the Stanford Student Space Initiative, his euphonium, and watching cartoons with his little sister Asiel.



Ph.D. Graduates

Dr. Fabio Righetti (2020): Gaseous Plasmonic Structures for Gigahertz and Terahertz Wave Manipulation. Currently at Lam Research/contact

Professor Thomas Underwood (2019): Hydromagnetic Stability and Collisional Properties of Current-Driven Plasma Jets. Currently at the University of Texas at Austin/contact

Dr. Roberto Colon (2018): Gaseous Plasmonic Resonators for Metamaterial Applications. Currently at Momentus Space/contact

Dr. David Biggs (2018): A Study of the Dynamic Response of Plasma Filled Microwave Cavity Resonators. Currently at Moments Space/contact

Dr. Keith Loebner (2017): Physics and Applications of a Plasma Deflagration Accelerator. Currently at Sutter Hill Ventures/contact

Dr. Chris Young (2016): Dynamics of Plasma Discharges used for Space Propulsion. Currently at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/contact

Dr. Eunsun Cha (2015): Dynamic Models of Electron Transport in Hall Thruster Simulations. Currently at Facebook/contact

Dr. Cheryl Lam (2015): Two Dimensional Axial – Azimuthal Simulation of Cross Field Electron Transport in a Hall Thruster Plasma Discharge. Currently at Sandia National Laboratory/contact

Professor Moon Soo Bak (2013): Nanosecond Pulsed Plasma Assisted Combustion. Currently at Sung Kyun Kwan University/contact

Professor Seong-kyun Im (2012): A Study of Unstart and its Delay Using Dielectric Barrier Discharges. Currently at Korea University/contact

Dr. Natalia MacDonald Tenenbaum (2012): Laser Induced Fluorescence Characterization of Cusped Field Plasma Thrusters. Currently at Aerojet Rocketdyne/contact

Dr. Scott Crawford (2012): Experimental Study of Vacuum Microplasma Spraying. Currently at Array Science LLC/contact

Dr. Flavio Poehlmann (2010): Investigation of a Plasma Deflagration Gun and Magnetohydrodynamic Rankine-Hugoniot Model to Support a Unifying Theory of Plasma Guns. Currently at Varian Medical Systems/contact

Professor Aaron Knoll (2010): Plasma Oscillations and Associated Electron Transport in Hall Thruster. Currently at Imperial College of London/contact

Dr. Andrew Smith (2010): Field Structure and Electron Transport in the Near Field of Hall Thrusters. Currently at Stevens High School South Dakota/contact

Dr. David Scharfe (2009): Alternative Hall Thruster Propellants Bismuth and Krypton: Simulated Performance and Characterization. Currently at the Air Force Research Laboratory/contact

Professor Hyungrok Do (2009): Plasma-Assisted Combustion in a Supersonic Flow. Currently at Seoul National University/contact

Dr. Michelle Scharfe (2009): Electron Cross-Field Transport Modeling in Radial-Axial Hybrid Hall Thruster Simulations. Currently at the Air Force Research Laboratory and

Dr. Quentin Walker (2007): Characterization and Novel Applications of the Helium Arcjet. Currently at Applied Materials/contact

Woo Kyung Kim (2006): An Investigation of Plasma Enhanced Combustion. Currently at United Technologies Corporation/contact

Dr. Cliff Thomas (2006): Anomalous Electron Transport in the Hall Effect Thruster. Currently at the University of Rochester/contact

Dr. David Manzella (2005): Scaling Hall Thrusters to High Power. Currently at NASA Glenn Research Center/contact

Dr. Nathan Meezan (2002): Electron Transport in a Coaxial Hall Discharge. Currently at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/contact

Dr. Alex Glew (2002): Plasma Deposition of Diamond-Like Carbon and Fluorinated Carbon and the Resultant Properties and Structure. Currently President of Glew Engineering/contact

Dr. William Hargus (2001): Investigation of the Acceleration Mechanism within a Coaxial Hall Thruster. Currently with the Air Force Research Laboratory/contact

Dr. Joongsoo Kim (1998): Combustion Synthesis of Diamond. Currently CEO of ReCarbon Inc./contact

Dr. Darren Berns (1998): Ion Assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition of Thin Film Cubic Boron Nitride. Currently at IDEX Inc./contact

Dr. Michael Loh (1997): A Study of Diamond Synthesis in an Expanding Arcjet Plasma Flow. Currently at Robert Bosch GmbH/contact

Dr. Renato Cedolin (1997): Laser Induced Fluorescence Diagnostics of Xenon Plasmas. Currently at Folio Technologies LLC/contact

Dr. John Gilmore (1997): On the Vibrational De-Excitation of Weakly Dissociated Air. Currently at (Unknown)/contact

Dr. P. Victor Storm (1997): Optical Investigation of Plasma Properties in the Interior of Arcjet Thrusters. Currently at (Unknown)/contact

Dr. Douglas Beattie (1995): Raman Scattering Measurements of Molecular Hydrogen in an Arcjet Thruster Plume. Currently at (Unknown)/contact

Dr. John Liebeskind (1994): Temperature and Velocity Diagnostic for an Arcjet Plume using Laser-Induced Fluorescence. Currently at Hewlett-Packard Corporation/contact

Dr. Ellen Meeks (1994): Modeling the Boundary-Layer Interactions Between Weakly Ionized Plasmas and Cooled, Planar Electrodes in Stagnation-Point Flows. Currently at ANSYS Corporation/contact

Dr. Harald Herchen (1994): High Temperature Raman Scattering in Diamond and Cubic Boron Nitride. Currently at Bloom Energy/contact

Dr. Mohammed Islam Raja (1993): Modeling and Simulation of Low-Pressure Deposition and Etching Processes. Currently President of Edugence/contact

Dr. Hongqing Shan (1991): Electric Field and Impedance Measurements of Glow Discharges used for Plasma Etching. Currently at NICE Solar/contact


Oliver Miller (2019)

Visiting Ph.D. Students

Dr. Jonathan Kolbeck (2020): Understanding Plasma-Initiated Secondary Arc Discharges. Currently at Applied Materials/contact

Dr. Antonio Gurciullo (2018): Electric Propulsion Technologies for Enabling the use of Molecular Propellants. Currently at Exotrail/contact

Post-Doctoral/Research Scientists

Dr. Nicolas Gascon: Currently at Momentus Space/contact

Professor Andrea Lucca Fabris: Surrey Space Center, UK/contact

Dr. Patricia Barreto: Currently at the National Institute for Space Research, Brazil/contact

Professor Tsuyohito Ito: Currently at the University of Tokyo, Japan/contact

Dr. Olivier Postel: Currently at DiPIX/contact

Dr. Aidar Zhakupov: Currently CEO at Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System/contact