John Foster



2915 Cooley Cuilding
2355 Bonisteel Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2104


Additional Title(s)

  • Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • 2006-present: Associate Professor, Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences; Materials Science & Engineering
  • 1998-2006: Senior Research Engineer, NASA Glenn Research Center
  • 1997-1998: Post-doctoral fellow, NSF Engineering Research Center for Plasma-Aided
  • Manufacturing, University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • University of Michigan
    • PhD Applied Physics ’96
  • Jackson State University
    • BS Physics ’91

Research Interests

Low-temperature plasmas, plasma physics issues regarding advanced space propulsion, plasma diagnostics, processing plasmas, space and atmospheric plasma phenomena, and modeling of plasma phenomena; environmental plasma processing

Plasma science is a highly interdisciplinary field whose primary subject matter is ionized gas. My research focus is on understanding and applying plasma science to real world problems. I am particularly fascinated with space propulsion and as such particular emphasis is focused on space related plasma projects. Beyond space propulsion, I am also deeply interested in improving our environment through use of plasma-based remediation technologies. The Laboratory will pay particular attention to those applications that protect the environment and improve the quality of life in developing countries. In addition to these focus areas, the lab will also pursue research opportunities in processing plasma applications, energy conversion and energy production.

Recent Activities

Water Purification using Plasma

Professional Service

  • Member of American Physical Society
  • Member of IEEE
  • Member of NSBP
  • Senior Member AIAA
  • Member of the Electric Propulsion Technical Working Committee
  • Member of IEEE PSAC Technical Working Committee (term ended 2013)
  • Member of NRC Plasma Committee
  • Member of DOE FESAC
  • NSF proposal reviewer; DOE Fellowship reviewer; DOE Proposal Reviewer
  • Journal Reviewer (Physics of Plasma, TPS, Applied Phys D, Surface Coat, AIAA, Plasma Sources Science and Tech., RSI, Nuclear Instruments Methods)
  • Session Organizer (AIAA , IEEE)


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