Cheng-Chien Chen

Cheng-Chien Chen

Assistant Professor
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Campbell Hall 305
(205) 934-8659

Research and Teaching Interests: Theory of Strongly Correlated Materials, X-ray Spectroscopy Simulation, Computational Physics and Scientific Supercomputing

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., National Tsing Hua University, Physics
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Physics

I was born and raised in Penghu (the Pescadores Islands), an archipelago of 64 islets in the Taiwan Strait. People there have the luxury to enjoy fresh wild-caught seafood and extraordinary scenery of basalt rock columns. After my high school years in Penghu, I became a physics major at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City – the birthplace of Taiwan’s Silicon Valley. In Hsinchu, every so often I heard of semiconductor technology innovation and materials science breakthrough. Fascinated by these topics, I have determined to study condensed matter physics after earning my bachelor’s degree in 2004 and fulfilling mandatory army service in 2005.

In 2006, I went to graduate school at Stanford University and became a bona fide Silicon Valley resident. During my Ph.D. study, I have developed different numerical techniques and used parallel computation with tens of thousands of CPUs to model the properties of quantum magnets and high-temperature superconductors. After obtaining a physics Ph.D. from Stanford in 2011, I became a postdoctoral scholar at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and later an Aneesur Rahman Postdoctoral Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. Working in National Labs has enabled me to collaborate closely with experimentalists and also access the nation’s state-of-the-art supercomputers. Afterwards my significant life events happened quickly one after another: I got married in 2014; had a first baby in 2015; joined the Department of Physics in 2016. My family members are all excited about beginning our new journey at Alabama and UAB.

Research Interests

My research concerns computational condensed matter physics and focuses on strongly correlated materials, such as quantum magnets, unconventional superconductors, and interacting topological states of matter. Fascinating phenomena in these complex systems emerge from the collective behavior of electrons and their interplay with the underlying crystal. As posed by the U.S. Department of Energy in Grand challenges in basic energy sciences, understanding emergent phenomena of correlated electrons and characterizing their behavior away from equilibrium could be key to an energy-sustainable future.

To address these challenges, my research group develops and utilizes different advanced numerical methods – exact diagonalization, density matrix renormalization group, quantum cluster approaches, and first principles calculations. Together with large-scale scientific supercomputing, we model electron and spin dynamics in various spectroscopies capable of probing material properties at ultrasmall length and ultrashort time scales. Self-motivated undergraduate and graduate students interested in these topics are welcomed to join us.

Recent Courses

  • PH 461/462: Classical Mechanics

Select Publications

  • Fermionic Symmetry-Protected Topological Phase in a Two-Dimensional Hubbard Model C.-C. Chen, L. Muechler, R. Car, T. Neupert, and J. Maciejko Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 096405 (2016)
  • Pressure-Induced Confined Metal from the Mott Insulator Sr3Ir2O7 Y. Ding, L. Yang, C.-C. Chen, H.-S. Kim, M. J. Han, W. Luo, Z. Feng, M. Upton, D. Casa, J. Kim, T. Gog, Z. Zeng, G. Cao, H.-k. Mao, and M. van Veenendaal Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 216402 (2016)
  • Using Nonequilibrium Dynamics to Probe Competing Orders in a Mott-Peierls System Y. Wang, B. Moritz, C.-C. Chen, C. J. Jia, M. van Veenendaal, and T. P. Devereaux Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 086401 (2016)
  • Novel High-Pressure Monoclinic Metallic Phase of V2O3 Y. Ding, C.-C. Chen, Q. Zeng, H.-S. Kim, M. J. Han, M. Balasubramanian, R. Gordon, F. Li, L. Bai, D. Popov, S. M. Heald, T. Gog, H.-k. Mao, and M. van Veenendaal Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 056401 (2014)
  • Persistent spin excitations in doped antiferromagnets revealed by resonant inelastic light scattering C. J. Jia, E. A. Nowadnick, K. Wohlfeld, Y. F. Kung, C.-C. Chen, S. Johnston, T. Tohyama, B. Moritz, T. P. Devereaux Nat. Commun. 5, 3314 (2014)
  • Existence of Orbital Order and its Fluctuation in Superconducting Ba(Fe1-xCox)2As2 Single Crystals Revealed by X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Y. K. Kim, W. S. Jung, G. R. Han, K.-Y. Choi, C.-C. Chen, T. P. Devereaux, A. Chainani, J. Miyawaki, Y. Takata, Y. Tanaka, M. Oura, S. Shin, A. P. Singh, H. G. Lee, J.-Y. Kim, and C. Kim Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 217001 (2013)
  • Theory of Two-Magnon Raman Scattering in Iron Pnictides and Chalcogenides C.-C. Chen, C. J. Jia, A. F. Kemper, R. R. P. Singh, and T. P. Devereaux Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 067002 (2011)
  • Unraveling the Nature of Charge Excitations in La2CuO4 with Momentum-Resolved Cu K-Edge Resonant Inelastic X-Ray Scattering C.-C. Chen, B. Moritz, F. Vernay, J. N. Hancock, S. Johnston, C. J. Jia, G. Chabot-Couture, M. Greven, I. Elfimov, G. A. Sawatzky, and T. P. Devereaux Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 177401 (2010)
  • Stability of Nodal Quasiparticles in Superconductors with Coexisting Orders E. Berg, C.-C. Chen, and S. A. Kivelson Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 027003 (2008)

See a complete list of Dr. Chen's publications on his Google Scholar page.