Ningyu Liu

Ningyu Liu

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

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.

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 407: General Physics I Recitation
  • PHYS 508: Thermodynamics&Statistic Mech
  • PHYS 703: Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PHYS 797: Senior Design Project
  • PHYS 941: Electromagnetic Theory I
  • PHYS 999: Doctoral Research


  • 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

Selected Publications

  • Boggs, L. D., Mach, D., Bruning, E., Liu, N., van der Velde, O. A., Montanya, J., . . . Peterson, M. (2022). Upward propagation of gigantic jets revealed by 3D radio and optical mapping. SCIENCE ADVANCES, 8(31). doi:10.1126/sciadv.abl8731

  • Liu, N., Scholten, O., Dwyer, J. R., Hare, B. M., Sterpka, C. F., Tilles, J. N., & Lind, F. D. (2022). Implications of Multiple Corona Bursts in Lightning Processes for Radio Frequency Interferometer Observations. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 49(7). doi:10.1029/2021GL097367

  • Liu, N. Y., Scholten, O., Hare, B. M., Dwyer, J. R., Sterpka, C. F., Kolmasova, I., & Santolik, O. (2022). LOFAR Observations of Lightning Initial Breakdown Pulses. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 49(6). doi:10.1029/2022GL098073

  • Scholten, O., Hare, B. M., Dwyer, J., Liu, N., Sterpka, C., Kolmasova, I., . . . ter Veen, S. (2022). Interferometric imaging of intensely radiating negative leaders. PHYSICAL REVIEW D, 105(6). doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.105.062007

  • Pu, Y., Liu, N., & Cummer, S. A. (2022). Quantification of Electric Fields in Fast Breakdown During Lightning Initiation From VHF-UHF Power Spectra. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 49(5). doi:10.1029/2021GL097374

  • 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