Plasmas are a “fourth” state of matter, consisting of highly-ionized gases, often at high temperatures, and make up most of the universe. ECE research in this area focuses on studying the science and applications of plasmas in areas ranging from materials processing and semiconductor technology to biotechnology and fusion energy. The confinement and heating of plasmas is a key step in providing virtually limitless energy through the process of nuclear fusion. Towards achieving that goal, the ECE Department has developed a unique plasma confinement device, the Helically Symmetric Experiment (HSX). The HSX was completed under funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and is a promising concept for designing a future fusion reactor. The new field of plasma medicine is an outgrowth of the fact that UW Madison has had a strong cross-disciplinary plasma program for more than 50 years. Applications for this area of research at UW Madison include plasma treatment of cancer and the generation of free radicals that have specific chemical and therapeutic properties.