Cosmin Ilie

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Cosmin Ilie

Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Department/Office Information

Physics and Astronomy
410 Ho Science Center
  • M 1:00pm - 4:00pm (410 Ho Science Center)


I use computational methods, data analysis, and forecasting techniques to connect experiments and theory in cosmology. My work focuses primarily on Dark Matter and its potential observable signatures. For example, I have explored how Dark Matter affects the formation of the first stars in the Universe. One of the most striking consequences we find is that they can become as massive as a million suns. Those enormously bright objects, formed during the cosmic dawn era, could potentially be detected by the James Webb Space telescope.  In fact, in 2023 we have identified the first three Dark Star candidates: JADES-GS-z13, JADES-GS-z-12, and JADES-GS-z13. My work on this subject has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and was popularized in magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American, New Scientist, to name a few. This media coverage has reached a potential audience of well over a billion people. 

Current research interests, in addition to those listed above, include the exploration of Dark Matter in non standard cosmological histories,  and the effects Dark Matter captured by compact astrophysical objects has on their evolution.   

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2011

C. Ilie, J. Paulin('23), K. Freese. "Supermassive Dark Star Candidates Seen by JWST." 2023 PNAS 120 (30) e2305762120

C. Ilie, J. Paulin ('23). "The Effect of Stellar Velocity on Dark Matter Capture and Detection with Population III Stars." 2022 ApJ 932 46

C. Ilie, C. Levy ('23). "Multi-component multiscatter capture of Dark Matter." 2021 Phys. Rev. D 104, 083033

C. Ilie, C. Levy('23), J. Pilawa('20), S. Zhang('19). "Constraining Dark Matter properties with the first generation of stars." 2021 Phys. Rev. D 104, 123031

C. Ilie, C. Levy('23), J. Pilawa('20), S. Zhang('19). "Probing below the neutrino floor with the first generation of stars." 2020 arXiv preprint: (letter companion to PRD 104, 123031) 

C. Ilie, J. Pilawa ('20), S. Zhang ('19). Comment on “Multiscatter stellar capture of dark matter.” 2020 Phys. Rev. D 102, 048301

C. Ilie, and S. Zhang ('19). Multiscatter capture of superheavy Dark Matter by Pop.III stars. 2019. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 12, 51

C. Ilie. Gamma Ray polarimetry; a new window for the non-thermal Universe. 2019. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 131, 1005

M. Eingorn, L. Fernando, B. Vlahovic, C. Ilie, B. Wojtsekhowski, G.M. Urciuoli, F. De Persio, F. Meddi. A High Energy Photon Polarimeter for Astrophysics. 2018. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 4(1), 011006

I. Waldstein, A. Erickcek, and C. Ilie. A Quasi-Decoupled State for Dark Matter in Non- Standard Thermal Histories. 2017. Physical Review  D 95 <>

B. Vlahovic, M. Eigenhorn, and C. Ilie. Uniformity of CMB as a non-Inflationary Geometrical Effect. 2015. Modern Physics Letters A 30 1530026

C. Ilie, K. Freese, M. Valluri, I.T. Iliev, P. Shapiro. Observing Supermassive Dark Stars with James Webb Space Telescope. 2012. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 422, 2164

C. Ilie, K. Freese, and D. Spolyar. Dark Stars and Boosted Dark Matter Annihilation Rates. 2011. New Journal of Physics, 13 053050

K. Freese, E. Ruiz, M. Valluri, C. Ilie, D. Spolyar, P. Bodenheimer. Supermassive Dark Stars: Detectable in JWST and HST. 2010. AIP Conf. Proc. 1294

K. Freese, C. Ilie, D. Spolyar, M. Valluri, P. Bodenheimer. Supermassive Dark Stars: Detectable in JWST. 2010. The Astrophysical Journal 716 (2).

C. Ilie, T. Biswas, and K. Freese. Are we seeing the beginnings of Inflation? 2009. Physical Review D 80, 103521

PHYS 112 Fundamental Physics II 

PHYS 131 Atoms and Waves 

PHYS 232 Introduction to Mechanics 

PHYS 410 Advanced Topics and Experiments 

PHYS 414 Astrophysics 

PHYS 432 Electrodynamics 

PHYS 410 Classical Mechanics 

PHYS 456 General Relativity and Cosmology