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Raluca Ilie
Raluca Ilie
Assistant Professor
(217) 300-5358
5054 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg

For more information


  • Ph.D, Space and Planetary Physics, University of Michigan, 2010

Research Statement

Space Weather impacts numerous facets of everyday life and can have detrimental effects on engineering infrastructure, such as the power grid, satellites, navigation systems, avionics, air travel, telecommunications and more. Therefore space weather prediction is critical to forewarning of solar events that could generate severe space weather at Earth.

My research addresses this need for predictive capabilities by developing and improving high-performance, first-principles computational models to describe and predict the hazardous conditions in the near Earth space leading to geomagnetic storms. I employ a combination of global, multi-physics, large-scale numerical models together with measurements from space borne instruments and ground based stations to study the dynamics of plasmas and electromagnetic fields in the geospace environment. These include three-dimensional global magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) magnetospheric modeling, kinetic drift physics simulations as well as data analysis and interpretation from the TWINS, Cluster, NOAA-POES, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes spacecrafts.

Combining numerical modeling with space mission data quantitatively addresses the flow of energetic particles through the magnetosphere as influenced by global fields, kinetic effects, and loss processes. This provides critical insight into the complex physics describing the Sun's effects on near Earth space in global unified way.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Prof. Ilie welcomes motivated undergraduate students to work in her research group.

Research Interests

  • Kinetic theory and modeling
  • Multi-physics, large-scale simulations of plasma transport and dynamics
  • Developing theoretical and predictive models of the space environment

Research Areas

Research Topics

  • Charge particle physics and engineering
  • Computational science and engineering
  • Sensing systems

Books Authored or Co-Authored (Original Editions)

Books Edited or Co-Edited (Original Editions)

Chapters in Books

  • E. A. Kronberg , E. E. Grigorenko, R. Ilie, L. Kistler and D. Welling (2020), Impact of ionospheric ions on magnetospheric dynamics, Book Chapter, AGU Geophysical Monograph Series, in press.
  • R. Ilie, M. F. Bashir and Elena Kronberg (2020), A brief review of the ring current and outstanding problems, Book Chapter, AGU Geophysical Monograph Series, in press.
  • K. Seki, A. Nagy, C. M. Jackman, F. Crary, D. Fontaine, P. Zarka, P. Wurz, A. Milillo, J. A. Slavin, D. C. Delcourt, M. Wiltberger, R. Ilie, X. Jia, S. A. Ledvina and R. W. Schunk (2015), A review of general processes related to plasma sources and losses for solar system magnetospheres, Space Science Reviews, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 27-89, doi:10.1007/s11214-015-0170-y.
  • D. Welling, M. Andre, I. Dandouras, D. Delcourt, A. Fazakerley, D. Fontaine, J. Foster, R. Ilie, L. Kistler, J. Lee, M. W. Liemohn, J. A. Slavin, C.-P. Wang, M. Wiltberger, A. Yau (2015), The Earth: Plasma Sources, Losses, and Transport, Processes, Space Science Reviews, 2015, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 145-208, doi:10.1007/s11214-015-0187-2.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • R. Ilie, L. K. S. Daldorff, M. W. Liemohn, G. Toth (2017), Calculating the inductive electric field in the terrestrial magnetosphere, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn (2016), The outflow of ionospheric nitrogen ions: a possible tracer for the altitude dependent transport and energization processes of ionospheric plasma, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics
  • R.M. Katus, M.W. Liemohn, A.M. Keesee, T.J. Immel, R. Ilie, D. T. Welling, N. Yu. Ganushkina, N.J. Perlongo, and A. J. Ridley (2016), Geomagnetic disturbance intensity dependence on the universal timing of the storm peak,J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JA022967.
  • M. W. Liemohn, S. Xu, C. Dong, S. Bougher, B. Johnson, R. Ilie, D. De Zeeuw (2017), Ionospheric control of the dawn-dusk asymmetry of the Mars magnetotail current sheet, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122, doi: 10.1002/2016JA023707
  • M. W. Liemohn, N. Y. Ganushkina, R. Ilie, D. T. Welling (2016), Challenges associated with near-Earth nightside current systems, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics
  • R. Ilie, N. Ganushkina, G. Toth, S. Dubyagin, and M. W. Liemohn (2015), Testing the magnetotail configuration based on observations of low-altitude isotropic boundaries during quiet times, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 10,557–10,573, doi:10.1002/2015JA021858.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn, G. Toth, N. Yu Ganushkina, and L. K. S. Daldorff (2015), Assessing the role of oxygen on ring current formation and evolution through numerical experiments. J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 4656–4668. doi: 10.1002/2015JA021157
  • N. Y. Ganushkina, M. W. Liemohn, S. Dubyagin, I. A. Daglis, I. Dandouras, D. L. De Zeeuw, Y. Ebihara, R. Ilie, R. Katus, M. Kubyshkina, S. E. Milan, S. Ohtani, N. Ostgaard, J. P Reistad, P. Tenfjord, F. Toffoletto, S. Zaharia, O. Amariutei (2015), Defining and resolving current systems in geospace, J Annales Geophysicae, doi:10.5194/angeo-33-1369-2015.
  • R. M. Katus, M. W. Liemohn, E. L. Ionides, R. Ilie, D. Welling, and L. K. Sarno-Smith (2015), Statistical analysis of the geomagnetic response to different solar wind drivers and the dependence on storm intensity, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 310–327, doi:10.1002/2014JA020712.
  • R. Ilie, R. Skoug, H. Funsten, M. W. Liemohn, J. Bailey, M. Gruntman (2013), The impact of geocoronal density on ring current development, JASTP, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2012.03.010.
  • R. Ilie, R. Skoug, P. W. Valek, H. Funsten, A. Glocer (2013), Global view of the inner magnetosphere composition during storm time, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 7074-7084, doi:10.1002/2012JA018468.
  • P. W. Valek, J. Goldstein, D. J. McComas, R. Ilie, N. Buzulukova, M. -C. Fok, J. D. Perez (2012), Oxygen-Hydrogen differentiated observations from TWINS: The 22 July 2009 storm, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 3377–3393, doi:10.1002/jgra.50204.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn, G. Toth, R. Skoug (2012), Kinetic model of the inner magnetosphere with arbitrary magnetic field, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2011JA017189
  • M. W. Liemohn, D. L. De Zeeuw, R. Ilie; N. Y. Ganushkina (2012), Deciphering magnetospheric cross-field currents, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL049611.
  • C. Cattell, J. Dombeck, A. Preiwisch, S. Thaller, P. Vo, L. B. Wilson, J. Wygant, S. B. Mende, H. U. Frey, R. Ilie, G. Lu (2011), Observations of a high-latitude stable electron auroral emission at 16 MLT during a large substorm, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, A07215, doi:10.1029/2010JA016132.
  • M. W. Liemohn, R. Ilie, N. Y. Ganushkina, A. J. Ridley, J. U. Kozyra, M. F. Thomsen, J. E. Borovsky (2011), Testing the necessity of transient spikes in the storm time ring current drivers, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, A04226, doi:10.1029/2010JA015914.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn, J. U. Kozyra, J.Borovsky (2010), An investigation of the magnetosphere-ionosphere response to real and idealized CIR events through global MHD simulations, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, vol. 466, issue 2123, pp. 3279-3303.
  • Ganushkina N. Yu, M. W. Liemohn, M. V. Kubyshkina, R. Ilie, H. J. Singer (2010), Distortions of the magnetic field by storm time current systems in Earth’s magnetosphere, Annales Geophysicae, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp.123-140.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn, A. J. Ridley (2010), Effect of smoothed solar wind inputs on global modeling results, Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 115, Issue A1.
  • M. W. Liemohn, J. C. Zhang, M. F. Thomsen, J. E. Borovsky, J. U. Kozyra, and R. Ilie (2008), Plasma properties of superstorms at geosynchronous orbit: How different are they?, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L06S06, doi:10.1029/2007GL031717.
  • R. Ilie, M. W. Liemohn, M. F. Thomsen, J. E. Borovsky, and J. Zhang (2008), Influence of epoch time selection on the results of superposed epoch analysis using ACE and MPA data, Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, A00A14, doi:10.1029/2008JA013241.
  • R. Ilie, G. B. Thompson, D. D. Reid (2006), A numerical study of the correspondence between paths in a causal set and geodesics in the continuum, Class. Quantum Grav. 23, 3275-32 85.


  • Outstanding Student Presentation Award (for graduate student Mei-Yun Lin), American Geophysical Union, 2020 (2020)
  • Outstanding Student Presentation Award (for graduate student Mei-Yun Lin), American Geophysical Union, 2019 (2019)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2019)
  • NASA Heliophysics Early Career Investigator Award (2019)
  • Research Area Coordinator, NSF Geospace Environment Modeling Program (2018-2024)
  • Best Student Presentation Award (for graduate student Mei-Yun Lin), NFS Geospace Environment Modeling Meeting, 2018. (2018)
  • The Air Force Office of Scientific Research: Young Investigator Program (YIP) (2018)

Teaching Honors

  • Collins Award for Innovative Teaching (Spring 2021)

Research Honors

  • NSF Geospace Environment Modeling Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2013)
  • International Space Science Institute (Bern, Switzerland) - Early Career Scientist (2012, 2015)
  • International Space Science Institute (Bern, Switzerland) - Team Leader (2016-2017)
  • The Air Force Office of Scientific Research: Young Investigator Program (YIP) (2018)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2019)
  • NASA Heliophysics Early Career Investigator Award (2019)

Courses Taught

  • ECE 210 - Analog Signal Processing
  • ECE 211 - Analog Circuits & Systems
  • ECE 329 - Fields and Waves I
  • ECE 398 - Fields and Waves VR Lab
  • ECE 590 - Space Science & Remote Sensing
  • ECE 598 - EM of Continuum Media