Spencer Szu-ping Kuo, PhD

Spencer Szu-ping Kuo, PhD


Electrical & Computer Engineering


Dr. Kuo is professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering (NYU-Poly). After receiving Ph.D. degree in 1977, he joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Research Associate. He joined EE Department, Polytechnic University (now become NYU-Poly), in September 1978 as Research Assistant Professor and was promoted to full professor in 1986. He initiated and ran a “summer research program for college juniors” in the EE department from 1985 to 1991. This program, which has gained nationwide popularity, has since been adopted in many universities and national laboratories.
Dr. Kuo's research activities cover areas in microwave plasma interactions, waves in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, plasma torches, plasma mitigation of shock waves, and plasma for industrial and medical applications. He performed a novel experiment using rapidly created plasma to up-shift the electromagnetic wave frequency. He created the first Plasma Crystal which traps EM wave as well as down-shifts the wave frequency. He developed theory as basis for enhancing the efficiency of generating ELF (extremely low frequency)/VLF (very low frequency) waves in the ionosphere, used for underwater communication and exploring the magnetosphere. He patented a plasma torch module, installed in a wind tunnel to study shock waves in supersonic aircraft. The experiment showed that onboard-generated plasma can eliminate the shock waves in front of the aircraft – potentially solving the problems of sonic booms and severe wave drag in supersonic flight. Adding microwave, this torch module has been applied to the scramjet engine to improve combustion and to decontaminate biological warfare agents. He also invented an air plasma spray for medical applications, including wound-bleeding control, wound healing and dental treatment.
Dr. Kuo is a fellow of the IEEE. He was Principal Investigator (PI) for more than thirty research projects awarded by the AFOSR, NSF, NASA, and ONR. Twelve students have received doctorates under his supervision.

Journal Articles

Select and recent Papers from 200 Journal Publications

  • Spencer Kuo, "Ionospheric very low frequency transmitter", Phys. Plasmas, 22(2), L022901 (1-10) 2015.
  • Spencer Kuo, "Ionospheric modifications in high frequency heating experiments", Phys. Plasmas, 22(1), 012901 (1-16), 2015.
  • Spencer Kuo, “Wave transition and trapping by suddenly created periodic plasma”, Progress in Electromagnetics Research B (PIER B), 60, 275-285, 2014.
  • Spencer Kuo, “Overview of ionospheric modification by high frequency (HF) heaters-Theory”, Progress in Electromagnetics Research B (PIER B), 60, 141-155, 2014.
  • Spencer Kuo, Arnold Snyder, and M. C. Lee, “Experiments and theory on parametric instabilities excited in HF heating experiments at HAARP”, Phys. Plasmas, 21(7), 062902-1 to -10, 2014.
  • Spencer Kuo, "On the nonlinear plasma waves in the high-frequency (HF) wave heating of the ionosphere", IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 42(4), 1000-1005, 2014; doi: 10.1109/TPS.2014.2306834.
  • Spencer Kuo,”Electron cyclotron harmonic resonances in high-frequency heating of the ionosphere”, Phys. Plasmas, 20, 092124 (2013); doi: 10.1063/1.4822336.
  • Spencer Kuo and Arnold Snyder, “Artificial plasma cusp generated by upper hybrid instabilities in HF heating experiments at HAARP”, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118(5), 2734–2743, doi:10.1002/jgra.50276, 2013.
  • Spencer Kuo, Wei-Te Cheng, R. Pradipta, M. C. Lee, and Arnold Snyder, “Observation and theory of whistler wave generation by high-power HF waves”, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118(3), 1331–1338, doi:10.1002/jgra.50193, 2013.
  • Spencer Kuo, “Air plasma for medical applications”, J. Biomedical Science and Engineering (JBiSE), 5, 481-495, 2012. Published Online September 2012;(http://www.SciRP.org/journal/jbise/)
  • Spencer P. Kuo, Cheng-Yen Chen, Chuan-Shun Lin, and Shu-Hsing Chiang, “Applications of air plasma for wound bleeding control and healing”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 40(4), 1117-1123, April 2012; 10.1109/TPS.2012.2184142.
  • S. Duarte, S. P. Kuo, R. M. Murata, C. Y. Chen, D. Saxena, K. J. Huang, and S. Popovic, “Air plasma effect on dental disinfection”, Phys. Plasmas, 18(7), 073503, July (2011); doi:10.1063/1.3606486 (7 pages).
  • Spencer Kuo, Arnold Snyder, Paul Kossey, Chia-Lie Chang, and John Labenski, VLF wave generation by beating of two HF waves in the ionosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L10608, doi:10.1029/2011GL047514, 2011.
  • Spencer P. Kuo, C Y Chen, Chuan-Shun Lin, and Shu-Hsing Chiang, “Wound Bleeding Control by Low Temperature Air Plasma”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 38 (8), 1908-1914, Aug. 2010.
  • Spencer Kuo and Arnold Snyder, “Observation of artificial Spread-F and large region ionization enhancement in an HF heating experiment at HAARP”, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L07101, doi:10.1029/2010GL042656, 2010.
  • S. P. Kuo, O. Tarasenko, J. W. Chang, S. Popovic, C. Y. Chen, H. W. Fan, A. Scott, M. Lahiani, P. Alusta, J. D. Drake, and M. Nikolic “Contribution of a portable air plasma torch to rapid blood coagulation as a method of preventing bleeding”, New J. Phys., 11, 115016 (17pp), 2009. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/11/11/115016.
  • Spencer P. Kuo, “Mitigation of energetic electrons in the magnetosphere by amplified whistler wave under double cyclotron resonances”, Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 15, 773-782, Oct. 2008.
  • S. P. Kuo, “Plasma Mitigation of Shock Wave: Experiments and Theory”, Shock Waves, Vol. 17, No. 4, DOI 10.1007/s00193-007-0112-z (pp. 1-15), pp. 225-239, 2007.
  • Spencer P. Kuo, Olga Tarasenko, Said Nourkbash, Assya Bakhtina, Kalle Levon, “Plasma Effects on Bacterial Spores in a Wet Environment”, New Journal of Physics, 8, 41 (pp. 1-11), 2006.
  • Wilson Lai, Henry Lai, Spencer P. Kuo, Olga Tarasenko, and Kalle Levon, “Decontamination of Biological Warfare Agents by a Microwave Plasma Torch”, Phys. Plasmas, 12, 023501-6, Feb. 2005.
  • Daniel Bivolaru and S. P. Kuo, “Aerodynamic Modification of supersonic flow around truncated cone using Pulsed Electrical Discharges”, AIAA Journal, 43(7), 1482-1489, 2005.
  • S. P. Kuo and E. Koretzky, “Generation of density irregularities and whistler waves by powerful radio waves in the polar ionosphere”, Phys. Plasmas, 8(1), 277-284, 2001.
  • S. P. Kuo, I. M. Kalkhoran, D. Bivolaru, and L. Orlick, Observation of shock wave elimination by a plasma in a Mach-2.5 flow, Phys. Plasmas, 7(5), 1345-1348, 2000.
  • S. P. Kuo, E. Koretzky, and L. Orlick, Design and electrical characteristics of a modular plasma torch, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 27(3), 752-758, 1999.
  • S. P. Kuo and J. Faith, "Interaction of an Electromagnetic Wave with a Rapidly Created Spatially Periodic Plasma”, Phys. Rev. E, 56(2), 2143-2150, 1997.
  • James Faith, S. P. Kuo, and Joe Huang, "Frequency Downshifting and Trapping of an Electromagnetic Wave by a Rapidly Created Spatially Periodic Plasma", Phys. Rev. E., 55 (2), 1843-1851, 1997.
  • S. P. Kuo and M. C. Lee, "Generation of ELF and VLF Waves by HF Heater-Modulated Polar Electrojet Via a Thermal Instability Process", Geophys. Res. Lett 20(2), 189-192, 1993.
  • S. P. Kuo and A. Ren , "Frequency Up-Conversion of a High Power Microwave Pulse Propagating in a Self-generated Plasma", J. Appl. Phys. 71(11), 5376-5380, 1992.
  • S. P. Kuo, "Frequency Up-Conversion of Microwave Pulse in a Rapidly Growing Plasma", Phys. Rev. Lett., 65(8), 1000-1003, 1990.
  • S. P. Kuo and M. C. Lee, "Earth Magnetic Field Fluctuations Produced by Filamentation Instabilities of Electromagnetic Heater Waves", Geophys. Res. Lett., 10(10), 979-981, 1983.
  • S. P. Kuo and G. Schmidt, "Filamentation Instability in Magneto Plasmas", Phys. Fluids, 26, 2529-2536, 1983.
  • S. P. Kuo and B. R. Cheo, "Parametric Excitation of Coupled Plasma Waves", Phys. Fluids, 21 1753-1757, 1978.


Polytechnic Institute of New York , Class of 1977

Doctor of Philosophy, Electrophysics

National Chiao-Tung University (Taiwan, R.O.C), Class of 1973

Master of Science, Electrical Engineering

National Chiao-Tung University (Taiwan, R.O.C.), Class of 1970

Bachelor of Science, Electrophysics


Portable Plasma Sterilizer, (Utility)

US Patent No.: US7777151 B2. Issue Date of Patent: Aug. 17, 2010.

Portable Arc-seeded Microwave Plasma Torch, (Utility)

United States Patent No.: US 7091441 B1. Issue Date of Patent: Aug. 15, 2006.

Portable Air Plasma Coagulator and Sterilizer, (utility)

Taiwan (ROC) Patent No.: I 428118 (Application # 098100129). Issue Date of Patent: Mar. 1, 2014.

Plasma Torch Implemented Air Purifier, (Utility)

US Patent No.: US7621985. Issue Date of Patent: Nov. 24, 2009.

Plasma Torch Air Purifier , (Utility)

Taiwan (ROC) Patent No.: I 392521 Issued Date of Patent: April 11, 2013.

Plasma Assisted Oxygen Decontaminant Generator and Sprayer, (Utility)

US Patent No.: US8115135 B2. Issue Date of Patent: Feb. 14, 2012.

Methods and Apparatus for Generating a Plasma Torch, (Utility)

United States Patent No.: US 6329628 B1. Issue Date of Patent: Dec. 11, 2001.

Mail Decontaminator , (Utility)

Taiwan (ROC) Patent No.: I 288005. Issue Date of Patent: 10/11/07.

Battery Powered Handheld Air Plasma Spray, (utility)

US Patent No.: 8927896. (Application # 14/053619). Issue Date of Patent. Jan. 6, 2015.

A Portable Arc-seeded Microwave Plasma Torch , (Utility)

China Patent No.: ZL 200580016015.6. Issue Date of Patent: Sept. 16, 2009.

Authored + Edited Books

Articles in a Book "Non-Equilibrium Air Plasmas at Atmospheric Pressure", ed. by R. Barker, K. Becker, U Kogelschatz, and K. Schoenbach, Institute of Physics Publishing (ISBN: 0750309628), Nov. 2004. "Operational Characteristics of a Low Temperature AC Plasma Torch" S.P. Kuo, Chap. 6.7, pp. 350-361. "Methods for Spatial Localization of a Microwave Discharge" S.P. Kuo, Chap. 7.3.4, pp. 413-418. "The Plasma Mitigation of the Shock Waves in Supersonic/Hypersonic Flights" S.P. Kuo, Chap. 9.6, pp. 587-596. "Plasma Torch for Enhancing Hydrocarbon-Air Combustion in the Scramjet Engine" S.P. Kuo, Chap. 9.5, pp. 574-586.

Article in NATO proceeding book “Plasma for Bio-Decontamination, Medicine, and Food Security”, Edited by Zdenko Machala, Karol Hensel and Yuri Akishev, Springer The Netherlands 2012; ISBN 978-94-007-2909-4 (PB); ISBN 978-94-007-2851-6 (HB); ISBN 978-94-007-2852-3 (e-book); DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-2852-3. “Non-equilibrium Air Plasma for Wound Bleeding Control”, pp. 347-356.

Awards + Distinctions

  • Sigma Xi: Outstanding Research Award, 1990.
  • 2005 Asian-American Engineer of the Year (AAEOY) award---Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE-USA).
  • Certificate of Distinguished Alumnus, National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU), Hsin-Chu, Taiwan, R.O.C., 2013.
  • Best student paper award from 1993 general assembly of URSI: J. Huang and S. P. Kuo, “A Theoretical Model for the Broad up-shifted Maximum in the Stimulated Electromagnetic Emission Spectrum”, J. Geophys. Res., 99(A10), 19569-19576, 1994.

Research Interests

Plasmas for Medical and Industrial Applications
Nonlinear Wave Phenomena in the Ionospheric and Magnetospheric Plasmas
Microwave Plasma Interaction
Plasma Aerodynamics

General / Collaborative Research