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Lunjin Chen
Assistant Professor-Physics
Contact Address   Physics Department, University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Rd. MS WT15, Richardson, TX 75080     Office MailstopMail Box: WT15, W. B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, Room No.: WTC2706 
Email Address    Primary Phone Number 972-883-2891    Fax Number 972-883-2761    Media Contact
 Professional Preparation
 Ph.D.Space PhysicsUniversity of California, Los Angeles2011
 M.S.Space PhysicsUniversity of Science and Technology of China2007
 B.S.GeophysicsUniversity of Science and Technology of China2004
Collapse Section Expand Section Research and Expertise
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

Collapse Section Expand Section Publications
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  YearPublication  Type
Chen, L., R. Thorne, W. Li, and J. Bortnik, Modeling the Wave Normal Distribution of Chorus Waves, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1029/2012JA018343.
Category: JGR
Peer reviewed
Meredith, N. P., R. B. Horne, J. Bortnik, R. M. Thorne, L. Chen, W. Li, and A. Sicard-Piet, Global statistical evidence for chorus as the embryonic source of plasmaspheric hiss, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50593.
Category: GRL
Peer reviewed
de Soria-Santacruz, M., M. Spasojevic, and L. Chen, EMIC waves growth and guiding in the presence of cold plasma density irregularities, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50484.
Category: GRL
Peer reviewed
Li, W., J. Bortnik, R. Thorne, C. Cully, L. Chen, V. Angelopoulos, T. Nishimura, J. Tao, J. Bonnell, and O. LeContel, Characteristics of the Poynting flux and wave normal vectors of whistler-mode waves observed on THEMIS, J. Geophys. Res.118, 1461–1471, doi:10.1029/2012JA018609.
Category: JGR
Peer reviewed
Chen, L., R. Thorne, Y. Shprits, and B. Ni,  An improved dispersion relation for parallel propagating electromagnetic waves in warm plasmas: Application to electron scattering, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1029/2012JA018371.
Category: JGR
Peer reviewed
Collapse Section Expand Section Appointments
DurationRankDepartment / SchoolCollege / OfficeUniversity / Company
2013/8-presentAssistant ProfessorPhysics UT, Dallas
2013/7-2013/8Assistant ResearcherAtmospheric and Oceanic Sciences UCLA
2011/3-2013/6Postdoctoral ResearcherAtmospheric and Oceanic Sciences UCLA
2007/9-2011/3Graduate Student ResearcherAtmospheric and Oceanic Sciences UCLA
       Teaching HelpHelp  
 Additional Information
Awards and Honors
  • 2012 American Geophysical Union Space Physics and Aeronomy Section‘s 2012 Fred L. Scarf Award
    Given annually to a recent recipient of a Ph.D. for outstanding dissertation researchthat contributes directly to solar-planetary science.
  • 2012 Nominee for the Chancellor‘s Award for Postdoctoral Research, UCLA.
    The award is given to recognize the important contributions that postdoctoral scholars from a variety of academic areas make to UCLA’s research mission.
  • 2010 Jacob A. Bjerknes Award.
    Given for graduate students of the outstanding research by the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA

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