Xiaojia Zhang
Assistant Researcher
2713 Geology


Graduating from a highly competitive high school in China, I had always engraved in my mind the necessity of diligence and persistence. Fortunately enough, this led me into the top university of China, where I further learned the importance of flexibility and communication in academia. Fascinated by the mysterious world of outer space, I majored in Space Physics in undergraduate university. Since the third year of my undergrad, I conducted guided preliminary research on ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves in Earth’s magnetosphere, with the support of the Chun-Tsung Endowment. The fulfillment of my very first project in Space Physics not only encouraged me with achievement and confidence, but also motivated me to pursue higher education here in UCLA.


My research focuses on waves, wave-particle interactions and associated magnetotail dynamics in Earth’s plasma sheet. I was previously introduced to the current carriers observed within thin current sheets ahead of and during the passage of Earthward-moving dipolarization fronts in the near-Earth plasma sheet, using THEMIS multipoint measurements. After completing my first project at UCLA, I turned to another related research topic in Earth’s magnetotail, i.e., examining the excitation of electron cyclotron harmonic (ECH) waves in Earth’s outer magnetosphere and the role ECH waves play in the context of magnetotail dynamics.

Educational Background

  • 2008.9-2014.6, Ph.D., Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2004.9-2007.7, B.S., School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University


In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, playing tennis, Mahjong, or just having great food with friends.

Selected Publications

Zhang, X.-J., W. Li, R. M. Thorne, V. Angelopoulos, Q. Ma, J. Li, J. Bortnik, Y. Nishimura, L. Chen, D. N. Baker, G. D. Reeves, H. E. Spence, C. A. Kletzing, W. S. Kurth, G. B. Hospodarsky, J. B. Blake, and J. F. Fennell Physical Mechanism Causing Rapid Changes in Ultra-Relativistic Electron Pitch Angle Distributions Right after a Shock Arrival: Evaluation of an Electron Dropout Event J. Geophys. Res., accepted.

Zhang, X.-J., W. Li, Q. Ma, R. M. Thorne, V. Angelopoulos, J. Bortnik, L. Chen, C. A. Kletzing, W. S. Kurth, G. B. Hospodarsky, et al. (2016), Direct Evidence for EMIC Wave Scattering of Relativistic Electrons in Space, 121, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, doi:10.1002/2016JA022521.

Zhang, X.J., V. Angelopoulos, B.B. Ni, R.M. Thorne, R.B. Horne (2014), Extent of ECH Wave Emissions in Earth’s Magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res.,119, 5561–5574, doi:10.1002/2014JA019931.

Zhang, X.-J., V. Angelopoulos, B. Ni, and R.M. Thorne (2014), Predominance of ECH Wave Contribution to Diffuse Aurora in Earth's Outer Magnetosphere, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 295–309, doi:10.1002/2014JA020455.

Zhang, X.-J., and V. Angelopoulos (2014), On the relationship of electrostatic cyclotron harmonic emissions with electron injections and dipolarization fronts, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, doi:10.1002/2013JA019540.

Zhang, X.-J., V. Angelopoulos, B. Ni, R. M. Thorne, and R. B. Horne (2013), Quasi-steady, marginally unstable electron cyclotron harmonic wave amplitudes, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1002/jgra.50319.

Zhang, X.-J., V. Angelopoulos, A. Runov, X.-Z. Zhou, J. Bonnell, J. P. McFadden, D. Larson, and U. Auster (2011), Current carriers near dipolarization fronts in the magnetotail: A THEMIS event study, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A00I20, doi:10.1029/2010JA015885.

Lun Xie, XiaoJia Zhang, ZuYin Pu, YongFu Wang, SuiYan Fu, and QiuGang Zong (2008), Ultra low frequency waves observed by Double Star TC-1 in the plasmasphere boundary layer, Science in China Series E: Technological Sciences, Volume 51, Number 10. doi:10.1007/s11431-008-0263-x


UCLA Earth, Planetary & Space Sciences