Chen Cui

Chen Cui

Assistant Professor

Office: 330 Walker Engineering Building

Chen Cui received his Ph.D. in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 2023, where he also completed his Master’s degree in High-Performance Computing. Chen Cui earned his Bachelor’s degree from Beihang University. Chen Cui’s research intersects plasma dynamics, aerospace engineering, and high-performance computing, focusing on the high-fidelity predictive fully kinetic modeling of plasma flows in spacecraft electric propulsion thrusters and solar wind. Chen Cui is the primary developer of Vlasolver, a large-scale parallelized fully kinetic plasma modeling framework.


  • Ph.D., Astronautical Engineering, University of Southern California, 2023
  • M.S., High-performance Computing, University of Southern California, 2021
  • B.E., Aerospace Engineering, Beihang University, 2017

Taught Courses

  • ASE-4443 Spacecraft Propulsion

Areas of Interest

  • Spacecraft Electric Propulsion
  • Space Environment
  • Plasma Physics and Engineering
  • Computational Plasma Physics
  • High Performance Computing


  • C. Cui and J. Wang, “Vlasov Simulations of Electric Propulsion Beam”, 2023, (submitted)
  • Y. Zhao, C. Cui, and Y. Hu, “Rigorously Conservative Charge and Current Deposition in 3D Cylindrical PIC”, Computational Particle Mechanics, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 495–502, 2023
  • C. Cui, S. P. Gary, and J. Wang, “Whistler Turbulence vs. Whistler Anisotropy Instability: Particle- in-cell Simulation and Statistical Analysis”, Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, vol. 9, no. 8, p. 941241, 2022, (invited, in memorial of Dr. S. Peter Gary)
  • J. Asher, Z. Huang, C. Cui, and J. Wang, “Multi-scale Modeling of Ionic Electrospray Emission”, Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 131, no. 1, p. 014902, 2022
  • C. Cui and J. Wang, “Grid-based Vlasov Simulation of Collisionless Plasma Expansion”, Physics of Plasmas, vol. 28, no. 9, p. 093510, 2021
  • Y. Zhao, C. Cui, Y. Zhang, and Y. Hu, “Implementation of Neutralizing Fields for Particle– particle Simulations Using Like Charges”, Journal of Plasma Physics, vol. 87, no. 3, 2021

Awards & Honors

  • Best Research Assistant Award, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, 2023
  • Best Student Paper Award Runner-Up, 50th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, 2023

Software Development

  • Vlasolver, a large-scale parallelized fully kinetic plasma modeling framework