Dr Darren Wright

photoReader in Space Physics

BSc (Hons), PhD (Leicester)

Tel: 0116 252 3568

Email: dmw7@le.ac.uk

Office: Room G57, Pysics & Astronomy

Personal details

BSc (Hons), PhD (Leicester)

All the following undertaken in the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group, University of Leicester

2010- Reader

2006-2010: Lecturer (New Blood appointment)

2002-2007: PPARC Advanced Research Fellow

1996-2002: Research Associate


My teaching includes

  • First year core physics: Electricity and Magnetism (PA1130)
  • Second year core maths: Vector Calculus (PA2710, Opt/215)
  • Third year option: Physics in Education (PA3620, Opt/3682)
  • Lead coordinator of first year core labs
  • Third year labs: Group Research Projects


Selected publications

I have published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals including:

Yeoman, T. K., D. M. Wright, M. J. Engebretson, M. R. Lessard, V. A. Pilipenko and H. Kim, Upstream-generated Pc3 ULF wave signatures observed near the Earth’s cusp, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A03202, doi:10.1029/2011JA017327, 2012.

Hutchinson J. A., D. M. Wright and S. E. Milan, Geomagnetic storms over the last solar cycle: A superposed epoch analysis, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A09211   doi: 10.1029/2011JA016463, 2011

Wright, D. M., R. S. Dhillon, T. K. Yeoman, T. R. Robinson, E. C. Thomas, L. J. Baddeley and S. Imber, Excitation thresholds of field-aligned irregularities and associated ionospheric hysteresis at very high latitudes observed using SPEAR-induced HF radar backscatter, Ann. Geophys., 27, 2623-2631, 2009.

Badman, S. V., D. M. Wright, L. B. N. Clausen, R. C. Fear, T. R. Robinson, and T. K. Yeoman, Cluster spacecraft observations of a ULF wave enhanced by Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR), Ann. Geophys., 27, 3591-3599, 2009.

Wright, D. M., J. A. Davies, T. K. Yeoman, T. R. Robinson and H. Shergill, Saturation and hysteresis effects in ionospheric modification experiments observed by the CUTLASS and EISCAT radars, Ann. Geophys., 24, 543, 2006.

Cowley, S. W. H., D. M. Wright, E. J. Bunce, A. C. Carter, J. D. Nichols, and T. R. Robinson, Cassini observations of planetary-period magnetic field oscillations in Saturn’s magnetosphere: Doppler shifts and phase motion, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L07104, 2006.

Wright, D. M., T. K. Yeoman and E. E. Woodfield, The effects of high frequency ULF wave activity on the spectral characteristics of coherent HF radar returns: a case study, Ann. Geophys., 22, 1843, 2004.

Sato, N., D. M. Wright, C. W. Carlson, Y. Ebihara, M. Sato, T. Saemundsson, S. E. Milan, and M. Lester, Generation region of pulsating aurora obtained simultaneously by the FAST satellite and Syowa-Iceland conjugate-pair observatories, J. Geophys. Res., 109, A10201, doi:10.1029/2004JA010419, 2004

Wright, D. M., J. A. Davies, T. R Robinson, T. K. Yeoman, M. Lester, S. R. Cash, E. Kolesnikova, R. Strangeway, R. B. Horne, M. T. Rietveld and C. W. Carlson, The tagging of a narrow flux tube using artificial ULF waves generated by modulated high power radio waves, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 1090, 2003.

Wright, D. M., T. K. Yeoman, I. J. Rae, J. Storey, A. B. Stockton-Chalk, J. L. Roeder and K. J. Trattner, Ground-based and Polar spacecraft observations of a giant (Pg) pulsation and its associated source mechanism, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 10837, 2001.

Wright, D. M., J. A. Davies, T. R. Robinson, P. J. Chapman, T. K. Yeoman, E. C. Thomas, M. Lester, S. W. H. Cowley, A. J. Stocker, R. B. Horne and F. Honary, Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR): an overview of a future radar facility, Ann. Geophys., 18, 1248, 2000.

Wright, D. M. and T. K. Yeoman, High-latitude HF Doppler observations of ULF waves: 2. waves with small spatial scale sizes., Ann. Geophys., 17, 868, 1999.

Wright, D. M. and T. K. Yeoman, High resolution bistatic HF radar observations of ULF waves in artificially generated backscatter, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 2825, 1999.


I am an experimentalist with 20 years' experience in developing joint experiments between magnetically conjugate ground-based radars and orbiting spacecraft. I believe that very small and relatively inexpensive spacecraft such as CubeSats will play an important role in future surveys of the Earth’s plasma environment and investigations and monitoring of Space Weather. I have studied the dissipation of magnetospheric energy (a Terawatt system) through frictional heating of the ionosphere via MHD waves. I have employed the SuperDARN global ionospheric radar network (of which Leicester is the PI institution) and high power ionospheric heating facilities including SPEAR and the EISCAT heater to uncover new MHD wave modes at high latitudes and investigate the characteristics of plasma irregularities in the upper atmosphere. More recently, my research activities have focused on the dynamics of the terrestrial magnetosphere, ionosphere and ring current during geomagnetic storms. I am currently supervising two PhD students who are respectively undertaking large-scale statistical studies into ionospheric plasma flows and the high energisation of ring current plasma, including so-called “killer” electrons, during storms. These phenomena can have detrimental, even lethal, impact on human and commercial activities on the ground and in space. I am also leading a new analysis of an 8 TByte (50,000 orbit) spacecraft dataset using the ALICE HPC facility in the Department of Physics and Astronomy to characterise heavy ion outflow from the upper atmosphere resulting from various geomagnetic conditions.

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Contact Details

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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