Brian E. Gilchrist

Brian E. Gilchrist

Affiliated Professor


Climate & Space Research Building
2455 Hayward Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143


  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
  • M.S., B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois

Professional Service

  • Associate Editor, American Geophysical Union
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics (senior member)
  • Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society

Research Interests

  • Plasma electrodynamics with emphasis to space electrodynamic tethered systems, energetic nanoparticles and MEMS based space electric propulsion technologies, and electron and ion beam effects (e.g. cold-cathode field emission cathodes, relativistic beams)
  • Plasma diagnostics (e.g. Langmuir Probe, microwave / millimeter wave interferometer, floating potential monitor)
  • Spacecraft and energy conversion technologies


  • Service Excellence Award, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 2009
  • Outstanding Student Group Advisor, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 2003
  • Certificate of Special Recognition, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 2002
  • Service Excellence Award, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 2001
  • Faculty Excellence Award, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2000
  • Excellence in Research Award, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, 1997
  • Principal Investigator, Shuttle Electrodynamic Tether System (SETS) experiment on NASA’s TSS-1R mission investigating tether electrodynamic fundamentals in the Earth’s ionosphere and use of space tethers for scientific and technological applications
  • Instrument PI, NASA’s ProSEDS mission, Langmuir Probe and Spacecraft Potential (LPSP) and High Voltage Control and Monitor (HVCM) instruments
  • Led 100+ student team designing and building U-M’s first-ever student satellite, Icarus, part of NASA’s ProSEDS mission
  • Founding Director, College of Engineering’s Multidisciplinary Design Program
  • Co-PI, Nannoparticle Field Extraction Thruster (NanoFET), USAF/DARPA (U.S. Patent 7,516,610)