Ningyu Liu

Phone: (603) 862-2313
Office: Physics, Morse Hall Rm 312, Durham, NH 03824
Ningyu Liu

I am a professor of Physics and Astronomy, with a joint appointment in Space Science Center of Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS). My research interests lie in the areas of plasma discharge physics, ionospheric physics, radio science, remote sensing, optical imaging, computational electrodynamics, and numerical methods. My study focuses on understanding electrical discharges in earth’s atmosphere such as lightning, jets and sprites, and their effects in near-earth space environment. My students and I work on developing simulation tools, building radio and optical instruments, and analyzing various data to answer fundamental questions about these phenomena. Our work has been published in Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Applied Physics Letters, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, etc. Our research has also been covered by The Washington Post, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Popular Science, New Scientist, TIME Magazine for Kids, BBC, Reuters, etc.

I enjoy working with researchers of diverse background, expertise, and experience. My undergraduate and graduate students have won numerous awards at scientific meetings and have also received university Outstanding Student Award. If you are interested in learning our research or joining our group, please feel free to contact me.


  • Ph.D., Electrical&Electronic Eng. Tec, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S., Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University

Research Interests

  • Electromagnetics
  • High Performance Computing
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Numerical Models
  • Plasma Electronics
  • Plasma Physics
  • Radio
  • Remote Sensing
  • Space Sciences

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 407: General Physics I Recitation
  • PHYS 408: General Physics II Recitation
  • PHYS 508: Thermodynamics&Statistic Mech
  • PHYS 703: Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PHYS 704: Electricity and Magnetism II
  • PHYS 941: Electromagnetic Theory I
  • PHYS 999: Doctoral Research

Selected Publications

Scholten, O., Hare, B. M., Dwyer, J., Liu, N., Sterpka, C., Kolmašová, I., . . . Winchen, T. (2021). A distinct negative leader propagation mode.. Sci Rep, 11(1), 16256. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-95433-5

Liu, N. Y., & Dwyer, J. R. (2020). Thunderstorm High-Frequency Radio Bursts With Weak Low-Frequency Radiation. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 47(23). doi:10.1029/2020GL090325

Tilles, J. N., Krehbiel, P. R., Stanley, M. A., Rison, W., Liu, N., Lyu, F., . . . Wilson, J. (2020). Radio Interferometer Observations of an Energetic in-Cloud Pulse Reveal Large Currents Generated by Relativistic Discharges. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 125(20). doi:10.1029/2020JD032603

Koile, J., Shi, F., Liu, N., Dwyer, J., & Tilles, J. (2020). Negative Streamer Initiation From an Isolated Hydrometeor in a Subbreakdown Electric Field. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 47(15). doi:10.1029/2020GL088244

Yang, J., Qie, X., Zhong, L., He, Q., Lu, G., Wang, Z., . . . Li, H. (2020). Analysis of a Gigantic Jet in Southern China: Morphology, Meteorology, Storm Evolution, Lightning, and Narrow Bipolar Events. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 125(15). doi:10.1029/2019JD031538

Liu, N., Kosar, B., Sadighi, S., Dwyer, J. R., & Rassoul, H. K. (2012). Formation of Streamer Discharges from an Isolated Ionization Column at Subbreakdown Conditions. PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 109(2). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.025002

Bourdon, A., Pasko, V. P., Liu, N. Y., Célestin, S., Ségur, P., & Marode, E. (2007). Efficient models for photoionization produced by non-thermal gas discharges in air based on radiative transfer and the Helmholtz equations. Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 16(3), 656. doi:10.1088/0963-0252/16/3/026

Liu, N., & Pasko, V. P. (2006). Effects of photoionization on similarity properties of streamers at various pressures in air. Journal of Physics D, 39(2), 327. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/39/2/013

Moss, G. D., Pasko, V. P., Liu, N., & Veronis, G. (2006). Monte Carlo model for analysis of thermal runaway electrons in streamer tips in transient luminous events and streamer zones of lightning leaders. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(A2). doi:10.1029/2005ja011350

Liu, N., & Pasko, V. P. (2004). Effects of photoionization on propagation and branching of positive and negative streamers in sprites. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(A4). doi:10.1029/2003ja010064

Most Cited Publications