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Lunjin Chen

Lunjin Chen

Eugene McDermott Distinguished Professor
Professor - Space Physics
Graduate Program Head, Physics Department

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Space Physics
University of California, Los Angeles - 2011
M.S. - Space Physics
University of Science and Technology of China - 2007
B.S. - Geophysics
University of Science and Technology of China - 2004

Research Areas

Research Interests
  • Magnetospheric physics
  • Interaction of electromagnetic waves and energetic charge particles in geospace plasma
  • Modeling of radiation belt dynamics
  • Instability and propagation of plasma waves
  • Applications of plasma waves
Research Description

The Earth’s magnetosphere, our geospace environment a few thousand kilometers above the Earth’s surface, consists of energetic charge particles trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field. Those energetic particles exhibit great variability due to solar activities, and pose a great threat to spacecraft orbiting in it and to astronauts. Understanding and predicting their variability are of great interest for space weather. A variety of naturally occurring electromagnetic waves, from Ultra Low Frequency to Very Low Frequency, play important roles in dynamics of those energetic charge particles, especially the radiation belts referring to population of electrons and protons with relativistic energy in geospace. The physical process involved is called wave-particle resonant interaction, where electromagnetic waves seen by particles match fundamental frequencies of trapped particles, leading to stochastic change in particles’ energy and momentum. My research interest is to study the nature of electromagnetic waves in our geospace and the effect of wave-particle interaction. We use various numerical simulation techniques to address the following questions, how are electromagnetic waves generated due to what kind of free energy, how do them propagate in complex geospace medium, where is the wave energy absorbed, how those waves affect energetic particles, and how do we model temporal evolution and spatial distribution of energetic particle population due to wave-particle interaction. These questions are the compelling science topics of the NASA’s $700M two-twin Van Allen Probes Mission. The mission, named after Dr. Van Allen who made the discovery of the radiation belts in 1958, was launched in 2012 August and aims at identifying fundamental mechanisms responsible for radiation belt loss and acceleration.


For more information on Van Allen Probes from NASA

or from youtube (search for “Van Allen probes”)

or from wiki


On the Wave‐Normal Distribution of Lightning‐Generated Whistlers and Their Propagation Modes 2024 - Journal Article
Propagation of Very Oblique Chorus Waves Near a Plasmaspheric Plume Boundary 2024 - Journal Article
Simulation of Downward Frequency Chirping in the Rising Tone Chorus Element 2023 - Journal Article
Bounce Resonance between Energetic Electrons and Magnetosonic Waves: A Parametric Study 2023 - Other
The Repetition Period of MeV Electron Microbursts as measured by SAMPEX/HILT 2023 - Other
Statistical properties of lower band rising tone chorus waves 2023 - Other
Vol. 55, Issue 3 (Heliophysics 2024 Decadal Whitepapers) 2023 - Journal Article
Statistical Properties of Lower Band Rising Tone Chorus Waves 2023 - Journal Article


Eugene McDermott Professor - University of Texas Dallas [2018]
Young Investigator Award - Air Force Office of Scientific Research [2016]
Young Scientist Award - Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale (URSI) [2014]
Fred L. Scarf Award - American Geophysical Union (AGU) Space Physics and Aeronomy Section [2012]


Graduate Student Researcher
UCLA [2007–2011]
Postdoctoral Researcher
UCLA [2011–2013]
Assistant Professor
UT Dallas [2013–2018]
Associate Professor
UT Dallas [2018–2022]
Dallas [2022–Present]

News Articles

Scientist's Space Weather Work Gets Support from Air Force Grant
Scientist's Space Weather Work Gets Support from Air Force Grant Beyond Earth’s breathable atmosphere, above the strata where airplanes fly and meteoroids burn up into shooting stars, lies a dynamic region between our planet and the sun, and what happens there is intricately connected to our everyday lives. 
Dr. Lunjin Chen
, an assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas, recently received a three-year, approximately $360,000 grant through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program to study “space weather” in this region, called the magnetosphere. 


Chairing American Geophysical Union session (2019-2023) on Nonlinear Wave-Particle Interaction in the Earth’s Magnetosphere
Member of US Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale (URSI) Commission H (Waves in Plasmas) since 2020
Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) Workshop Steering Committee, Research Area Coordinator for Inner Magnetosphere (2021-2025)
International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale USRI) Senior Membership since 2021


Angular Distribution and Propagation Trajectories: Chorus Near Plumes (ADaPT: CNP)
- NASA [2020/11–2023/10]
Characteristics of Magnetic Dips in the Inner Magnetosphere
- NASA [2020/04–2024/03]
Investigating electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves near the equator and at high latitudes
- NASA [2019/04–2024/03]
Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Harmonic Waves in the Earth's Magnetosphere
- ΝΑSA [2021/04–2024/03]
Investigating plasmaspheric density irregularities and their effects of whistler wave propagation
- NASA [2021/04–2024/03]