TPS Launches the Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System, Delivering Major Benefits Through Nanosecond Pulsed-Power Plasma


The room-temperature, open-environment treatment system unlocks new versatility and efficiency for thin-film coating, surface cleaning, and activation of a wide variety of substrates.

TORRANCE, California, October 23, 2019 — Transient Plasma Systems Inc. (TPS), which develops nanosecond pulsed-power systems for a wide range of applications, today announced the launch of its Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System. This highly versatile and efficient new system supports open-environment surface cleaning, activation, and thin-film coating of many different types of substrates, including wide-area and temperature-sensitive surfaces.

Using repetitive nanosecond pulses, the Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System delivers energy more effectively than competing solutions using kHz or MHz excitation. The system’s unique benefits include the ability to produce a low-temperature plasma stream, precise control of plasma energy, low sensitivity to working distances, and the ability to produce anything from a narrow beam to a wide uniform curtain of plasma.

How the Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System delivers superior versatility

The wide plasma beam produced by the Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System makes it ideal for uniform treatment of wide-area substrates such as fabrics and plastic films. The system’s low sensitivity to working distances reduces the need for sophisticated automation, enabling applications that benefit from handheld operations and enhancing the ability to handle parts with complex shapes and uneven substrates.

The Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System is uniquely qualified for applications that require uniform and high-integrity thin-film coatings, such as bio-medical, aerospace, and other industrial use cases. Because it generates more-effective plasma and minimal heat in the output beam, the nanosecond pulsed-power plasma system is exceptionally well-suited for treating temperature-sensitive substrates such as human tissue, delicate structures, textiles, and thin polymeric membranes.

“We are excited to launch our technology in the atmospheric plasma processing space,” said Dan Singleton, CEO of Transient Plasma Systems. “We believe it will help unlock new capabilities in several areas of surface treatment.”

Fraunhofer testing: Expert evaluation and results

Over the past several months, TPS’ Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System has been evaluated by the world-renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Germany.

“Our testing of the TPS nanosecond pulsed-power plasma system demonstrated the ability to precisely control plasma energy, making the system very attractive for thin-film coating applications, including those using precursors with complex molecules,” said Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch, senior researcher at Fraunhofer IFAM. “The system’s low sensitivity to working distances make it interesting for applications such as conformal coating of electronic PC board assemblies. The wide plasma beam is a very exciting feature of the TPS system, and it can play a vital role in improving process throughput. We believe that this system has several salient characteristics that will benefit bonding and coating applications, including transitioning some current low-pressure plasma applications to atmospheric.”

In order to provide superior tunability for process results, TPS’s new compact pulse generator powers atmospheric-pressure plasma over a wide range of voltages and repetition rates. The solid-state design provides efficiency and unmatched durability. Details about the TPS Transient Plasma Surface Treatment System can be found here:

About Transient Plasma Systems, Inc. (TPS)

Transient Plasma Systems (TPS) designs and manufactures nanosecond pulsed-power systems that enable commercial, industrial, and research applications across a broad range of areas, including combustion, emissions remediation, surface treatments, medical devices, and agriculture. The foundational technology was developed at the University of Southern California (USC), with over a decade of support from the Department of Defense. The company was spun out of USC with the express purpose of translating the technology into products and systems to address demands in both military and commercial markets. To learn more, please visit


TPS Qualifies as BusinessGreen Technology Awards 2019 Finalist

BusinessGreen has announced the shortlist for the fifth annual BusinessGreen Technology Awards, recognizing some of the most exciting and innovative clean tech providers working in the UK today. Transient Plasma Systems is a finalist for the category of Transport Technology of the Year for their TPS Ignition System.

More information on the Award Finalists can be found at:

Transient Plasma Systems Successfully Completes Multi-Cylinder Engine Testing with Nanosecond Pulsed Plasma Ignition Technology

Transient Plasma Systems Inc. (TPS), which develops nanosecond pulsed plasma ignition systems to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has achieved a new milestone in internal combustion engine testing.

The new TPS test marks the first multi-cylinder demonstration of the company’s nanosecond pulsed plasma ignition technology in a mass-manufactured, on-road natural-gas engine. TPS tested its Transient Plasma Ignition System in multi-cylinder operation on a Cummins Westport ISX12N natural-gas engine.

“The successful multi-cylinder testing of nanosecond pulsed plasma ignition technology gets us one step closer to widespread market demand and adoption. We are very grateful to the California Energy Commission (CEC) for providing the grant, to Cummins Westport for providing the engine and engine support, and to SoCal Gas for providing additional funding for this effort,” said Dan Singleton, co-founder and CEO of Transient Plasma Systems.

The tests were conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, under a grant by the CEC with support from SoCalGas and Cummins Westport.

“This is a major milestone in the development of our nanosecond pulsed plasma ignition technology,” said Jason Sanders, co-founder and chief scientist at Transient Plasma Systems. “Our ignition technology reduces fuel consumption in combustion engines by a significant amount, and it can do so with an easy-to-implement solution that requires no engine redesigns.”

The testing demonstrated stable operation of the Transient Plasma Ignition System under on-road conditions, including improved brake thermal efficiency, reduced CO and NOx emissions, and extension of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) dilution tolerance.

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About the TPS Transient Plasma Ignition System

For engine and auto manufacturers, the TPS Transient Plasma Ignition System is a cost-effective and widely validated new tool for high-dilute combustion strategies, reduced NOx emissions, and efficient engine modes in challenging situations. The low-energy/high-power ignition system increases efficiency in a variety of combustion engine designs, including gasoline-powered, hybrid, and natural-gas-powered vehicles. Unlike competing systems that involve costly engine redesigns and displacement of current engine architecture, the TPS Transient Plasma Ignition System works alongside existing engine designs and efficiency techniques such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), gasoline direct injection (GDI), turbocharging and e-boost, significantly enhancing performance with a simple solution. To learn more, please visit

TPS wins DoE SBIR Phase IIB grant for Development of a Low-Energy Nanosecond Pulsed Ignition System Enabling High-Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Combustion

Transient Plasma Systems, based in Torrance, CA was awarded a SBIR Phase IIB grant for “Development of a “sparkless” ignition system for high-efficiency dilute gasoline and natural gas engines. This grant comes on the heels of a successful completion of Phase II grant work that focused on developing a platform for avoiding spark breakdown, which will now be used to demonstrate improved spark plug lifetime.

More information on the grants can be found at:



Swapping spark plugs for nanopulses could boost engine efficiency by 20%

More precise ignition events mean better fuel efficiency and fewer pollutants.

Here in 2019, only the most fringe reactionaries are able to claim with a straight face that climate change is not a thing. But after years of the media doing its “two sides” thing, recalcitrant policy makers dragging their heels, a continued lack of investment in public transport, and intense, well-funded opposition from vested interests like the oil industry, there has been a heavy cost on attempts to decarbonize. When it comes to the transportation sector, even with the best will in the world, it will be decades before we see the end of the internal combustion engine. So when a new technology comes along that offers a really meaningful improvement in fuel efficiency when fitted to existing engines, my interest gets piqued. Such is the case with a new ignition system from a company called Transient Plasma Systems.

The company has its roots in pulsed power technology developed for the Department of Defense at the University of Southern California, specifically nanosecond-duration pulses of power. Since 2009, it has been working on commercializing the technology for the civilian market in a number of applications, but obviously it’s the automotive one that interests me.

In a conventional four-stroke internal combustion gasoline engine, which works on the principle of suck-squeeze-bang-blow, the bang is created by a spark plug igniting the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder. That spark typically lasts several milliseconds, and although the control of that spark is now controlled electronically rather than mechanically, the principle is the same today as it was in 1910 when Cadillac added it to its engines.

TPS’s system does away with the conventional coil-on-plug approach. Instead, much shorter pulses of plasma—several nanoseconds—are used to ignite the fuel-air mix inside the cylinder. These have a much higher peak power than a conventional spark; thanks to their much shorter duration, however, the ignition is actually still rather low-energy (and therefore lower temperature).

Consequently, it’s possible to achieve better combustion at high compression ratios, more stable lean burning, and lower combustion temperatures within the cylinder. And that means a more efficient engine and one that produces less nitrogen oxide. TPS says that using its system, it can increase the thermal efficiency of an already very efficient internal combustion engine like the one Toyota uses in the current Prius (which is ~41 percent) up to 45 percent—similar to the turbulent jet ignition systems that have recently seen Formula 1 gasoline engines reach that level.

What makes this tech really cool—at least to me—is that TPS has designed the system to be drop-in for existing spark plugs, so OEMs don’t have to redesign their engines to use it. And on top of that, there’s no reason it can’t work in combination with other recent advanced engine technologies like Delphi’s dynamic skip fire (which allows highly accurate cylinder deactivation), Nissan’s variable-compression ratio engine, or even Mazda’s clever Spark Controlled Compression Ignition system.

Although it’s designed as a drop-in system, forget about fitting it to your own car—TPS’s going-to-market strategy is to work with an established tier-one supplier to leverage existing relationships with OEMs as well as existing manufacturing capacity. TPS told me it’s a little too early to get specific about the cost of its system versus conventional spark ignition but that the fuel economy gains it would deliver should please the OEM beancounters who weigh up things like expected fuel efficiency versus production cost.



Plasma Ignition Could Breathe Life Into ICEs

USC honors Transient Plasma Systems (TPS) Founders Martin Gundersen & Jason Sanders

Transient Plasma Systems (TPS) is proud to announce that The Stevens Center for Innovation at the  University of Southern California (USC) recognized Dr(s). Gundersen & Sanders at an event hosted for USC faculty and researchers whose technology was licensed or who were named on an issued U.S. patent in calendar 2018.

Dr. Gundersen holds the Lloyd F. Hunt Chair in Electrical Power Engineering and is a Professor of Electrical Engineering-Electrophysics, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and the department Physics and Astronomy and a Founder & Board Member of TPS. Dr. Sanders,  is part-time faculty at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Founder & Chief Scientist TPS. Both  were both honored for their achievements in Pulsed Power Technologies.

“This is indeed a great honor and recognition. We are proud of their achievements and their contributions to the success of TPS” said Dr. Dan Singleton, CEO Transient Plasma Systems (TPS).



TPS selected by NREL to address natural gas vehicle engine emissions and efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected nine projects as part of a multimillion-dollar effort funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the Southcoast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to advance the state of technology for natural gas vehicles (NGVs).

The selected projects will focus on reducing the total cost of ownership of NGVs, increasing vehicle efficiency, decreasing local air pollution, and advancing technology development to increase the use of more affordable medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engines and vehicles.

“Leveraging the technical expertise of industry partners can have a powerful impact on transportation technologies,” said Johney Green, associate lab director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences at NREL. “Innovation that can change the paradigm for energy use in transportation is going to come by bringing together researchers from several areas. We are looking forward to partnering with these researchers to develop breakthrough NGV technology.”

These awards are the result of collaboration between NREL, DOE, CEC, and AQMD. The partners have a history of working together to identify and fund important natural gas vehicle projects , including supporting many of the technologies on the road today. Projects selected through this solicitation will complement DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) research started in FY 2017. The following projects were selected for negotiation with NREL:

Cummins High Efficiency, Ultra Low Emissions Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Engine Research and Development Project

Cummins, Inc. – Columbus, Indiana

Cummins Inc. will address natural gas engine emissions and efficiency improvements by developing a natural gas specific combustion design utilizing optimized in-cylinder charge motion and cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). The engine will be integrated on a global heavy-duty base engine platform, enabling up to a 20 percent system cost reduction. The technical targets of the project include demonstrating a 10 percent improvement in cycle average and peak brake thermal efficiency over the current commercially available product; maintaining 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx capability with reduced aftertreatment cost; and demonstrating a diesel-like torque curve.


CNG Full Fills with a Complete Smart Fueling System

Gas Technology Institute – Des Plaines, Illinois

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and its partners will address total cost of ownership by developing and demonstrating a smart fueling system, including the full suite of necessary technologies to enable consistent full fills of natural gas vehicles. These technologies include a smart vehicle and dispenser, an advanced full fill algorithm and cost-effective gas pre-cooling using a near-isentropic free piston expander/compressor. This combination of technologies seeks to solve the technical challenges of dispensing uncertainty and heat of compression that results in natural gas vehicles being under-filled.


Downsized, Optimized, High Efficiency, Spark Ignited Natural Gas Engine

Gas Technology Institute – Des Plaines, Illinois

GTI and its partners will address natural gas engine and vehicle availability by developing a production intent, optimized, spark ignited natural gas engine demonstrating near-zero emissions and meeting EPA 2027MY greenhouse gas (GHG) targets in a Class 6 vocational vehicle.


A Compression-Ignition Mono-Fueled NG High-Efficiency, High-Output Engine for Medium and Heavy-Duty Applications

Michigan Technological University – Houghton, Michigan

Michigan Technological University and Westport will address natural gas engine emissions and efficiency improvements by demonstrating the feasibility of compression ignition of directly injected natural gas.  This research will enable development of mono-fuel natural gas internal combustion engine technology.


Development of a Pent-Roof Medium-Duty Spark-Ignited Natural Gas Engine in an Optimized Hybrid Vehicle System

Southwest Research Institute – San Antonio, Texas

Southwest Research Institute and Isuzu will address natural gas engine emissions and efficiency improvements and engine availability by developing and demonstrating a hybrid medium-duty truck using advanced natural gas spark-ignited engine. A pent-roof cylinder head version of a diesel engine will be developed for operation on natural gas and integrated into a medium-duty truck chassis. The pent-roof design will enable the use of elevated levels of EGR dilution to yield a high efficiency engine that can also meet future NOX regulations. To further the vehicle level efficiency gains, a hybrid drivetrain system will be integrated into the truck as well to provide a demonstration of a highly optimized low GHG emission medium-duty truck.


A Multi-Cylinder Transient Plasma Ignition System for Increased Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Natural Gas Engines

Transient Plasma Systems, Inc. – Torrance, California

Transient Plasma Systems and Argonne National Laboratory will address natural gas emissions and efficiency improvements by developing a production intent prototype of a transient plasma ignition system to enable stable ignition of natural gas and air mixtures that challenge traditional spark plugs. This project will demonstrate the increase in combustion stability at high-pressure, high-exhaust gas recirculation conditions across a wider operating range relative to existing or future heavy-duty natural gas spark-ignition internal combustion engines.


Plug-in Hybrid CNG Drayage Truck “PHET”

US Hybrid Corporation – Torrance, California

US Hybrid Corporation and its partners will address total cost of ownership by developing and demonstrating a fully integrated and optimized natural gas, plug-in hybrid class 8 vehicle utilizing the Cummins 9-liter near-zero emission engine, a commercialized parallel hybrid powertrain with 240hp rating and a 40kWh liquid-cooled high-power density lithium-ion battery pack.  The project includes a 24-month demonstration in port drayage operations to quantify emission and performance improvements and will implement a GPS-based predictive geofencing hybrid control architectures to ensure zero emission operation at the port.


High-Efficiency Natural Gas Dual Fuel Combustion Strategies for Heavy-Duty Engines

University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The University of Alabama, in collaboration with an industrial partner, will address natural gas emissions and efficiency improvements by developing a laboratory scale proof-of-concept for a commercially viable high-efficiency natural gas dual fuel heavy-duty engine that will conform to current and future emissions standards.  The strategies to achieve this include use of a high cetane oxygenated pilot fuel, spray-targeted reactivity stratification, variable valve actuation, and temperature-controlled exhaust gas recirculation.


Development of Zeolite-Based Catalysts for Improved Low Temperature CHConversion

University at Buffalo – Buffalo, New York

The University of Buffalo and its partners will address natural gas emissions and efficiency improvements by developing a novel aftertreatment system for future natural gas vehicles using palladium-based catalysts, which have shown the best activity for the oxidation of CH4 at low temperatures.


NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Transient Plasma Systems Secures $8.5 Million Series A Financing Round Led by Kairos Ventures

TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Transient Plasma Systems Inc. (TPS), which develops and markets nanosecond pulsed power systems that unlock the potential of low-temperature plasma to be used in a variety of applications, today announced that it has completed an $8.5 million Series A funding round from Kairos Ventures.

This financing will enable the company to make immediate investments to expand the TPS infrastructure to pursue emerging opportunities including ignition of advanced high-efficiency combustion engines, emissions reduction, and industrial plasma processing, and position itself for future growth. The build-up includes investment in the core team, manufacturing base and intellectual property. The Series A follows a $1.5 million seed investment from Kairos Ventures, bringing the total investment from Kairos to $10 million. As part of the investment, James Demetriades, CEO of Kairos Ventures, will join the company’s board of directors.

“We are very excited to be working with Kairos Ventures. The Series A round builds on the success of the seed investment, which saw key technology development, the establishment of new markets, and growing revenue. With Kairos, TPS is committed to the development of creative, nanosecond pulsed power solutions and low-temperature plasma to solve real-world problems facing society and industries across the world. TPS technology will improve human and environmental health, and open new pathways to innovation, helping to resolve conflict between industrial production and its ecological impact,” said Dr. Dan Singleton, CEO and co-founder of TPS.

“TPS continues to successfully execute on its vision to develop commercial nanosecond pulsed power systems that will provide capabilities to a variety of industries,” said Demetriades. “I am particularly excited about the impact that TPS technology will make in the automobile industry and the dramatic engine efficiency gains TPS can enable.”

TPS selected as part of round 5 of the DOE’s $3.8M HPC4Manufacturing Program

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), which manages the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program to use supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing, today announced the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $3.8 million for 13 industry projects under the program.

The awards mark the fifth round of selectees for the HPC4Mfg Program, led by LLNL and its partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The program, established in 2015, unites DOE’s supercomputing capabilities and expertise with American manufacturers to optimize production processes, enhance product quality and speed up design and testing cycles while decreasing energy consumption. Participating DOE laboratories include Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“We are pleased with the growing involvement by multiple national laboratories in this program,” said LLNL’s Robin Miles, interim director of the HPC4Mfg Program. “The world-class expertise in scientific and engineering computing available at our leading institutions can make a significant difference to enhancing the competitiveness and efficiencies of U.S. industry.”

The 13 new projects include: LLNL and ANL partnering with VAST Power Systems to optimize gas turbine combustors; LLNL working with KeraCel on manufacturing solid-state lithium-ion batteries; ANL collaborating with the Steel Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Consortium and ArcelorMittal USA to optimize reheat furnace efficiency in steel manufacturing; SNL partnering with Dow Chemical to reduce the thermal conductivity of insulating foam polyurethane products; ANL and Transient Plasma Systems Inc. partnering to develop more efficient dilute-burn internal combustion engines; LANL and GE Global Research collaborating to model large-scale casting of aerospace and gas turbine blades; ORNL and NREL partnering with the Alliance for Pulp & Paper Technology Innovation to use molecular modeling to increase pulp yield; and ANL joining forces with 3M to optimize the fiber spinning manufacturing process used in filters, fabrics and insulation. For a full list of funded projects, visit the web.

With the exception of the LLNL/KeraCel collaboration, which will be funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), each project will receive up to $300,000 from the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Three other projects will be co-funded by the VTO, DOE’s Building Technologies Office and the Office of Fossil Energy. Each participating private entity or consortium was required to contribute at least $60,000 of in-kind funds.

The AMO funded LLNL to establish the HPC4Mfg Program in March 2015. The Advanced Scientific Computing Research Program within DOE’s Office of Science and NREL also support the program with HPC cycles through its Leadership Computing Challenge allocation program.

Since it began, the HPC4Mfg Program has funded a total of 60 industry projects, ranging from improving the reliability and lifetime of wind turbines to studying how to mitigate defects in the 3D printing of metal parts to reducing emissions from semiconductor processing that could potentially harm the ozone layer.

The sixth solicitation for the HPC4Mfg Program, focusing on steelmaking and aluminum production, is expected to be announced later this month. More information is available on the web.