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Associate Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ESH 4111
(205) 934-8031

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Research and Teaching Interests: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics: Laser Cooling and Trapping, Strongly Correlated Matter, Quantum Information and Computation, Quantum Technologies, Next Generation Time/Frequency Standards, and Nanotechnology

Office Hours: By appointment only


  • B.S., Prairie View A&M University, Physics
  • Ph.D., Rice University, Physics

Dr. Simien is from a family of nine children whose parents are Joseph and JoAnn Simien of Port Arthur, TX. As an undergraduate student, he studied mathematics and physics at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Prairie View, TX. While at PVAMU, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the department of physics on the BaBar Experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) which was designed to study some of the most fundamental questions about the universe by exploring elementary particles using high energy physics techniques. In addition, he was a summer REU student in the Nuclear and High Energy Research and Accelerator Research Divisions at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In these roles, he performed theoretical high-energy physics calculations and simulated positron beam dynamics inside accelerator structures for next generation colliders, respectively.

As a David and Lucile Packard Scholar doctoral student at Rice University in Department of Physics and Astronomy in Houston, TX. His area of research was Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics with specific emphasis on laser cooling, trapping, and photo-ionizing atoms to create ultracold strongly correlated plasmas. This exotic table-top plasmas represent a new frontier in plasma physics, and may help with the understanding of similar but highly energetic plasma systems.

As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology he performed precision spectroscopy using an optical frequency comb to test quantum-electrodynamic calculations of many-body atomic systems. More specifically, he helped determine the optical frequencies and quantum interference effects on atomic lithium transitions. The results of this experiments ultimately helped determine if precision spectroscopy combined with theoretical calculations could be used as an experimental probe of nuclear charge radii; with particular applications to exotic isotopes where the abundance is too low to perform scattering experiments.

As an Associate Professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham, his research directive is to sustain an innovative and transformative world-class research program in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; specifically in the areas of precision spectroscopy as it relates to precision measurements, next generation frequency standards, ultracold atoms and plasmas, quantum information and computation, and nanotechnology. He is a current recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in AMO Physics. In addition, he is member of American Physical Society and serves on the Committee on Minorities in Physics. Moreover, he is an active member of the National Society of Black Physicists, and is passionate about scientific engagement and outreach to all communities with special emphasis to low income urban and rural areas. He enjoys volunteering and yard work, and helping his wife coach their three daughters’ ladies basketball teams. You can also learn more about Dr. Simien's work through ResearchGate, or feel free to contact him anytime via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


  • Research Interests

    Dr. Simien’s current research emphasis is the use of laser spectroscopy and cooling and trapping techniques on alkaline and rare-earth metal atomic gas systems for the following:

    • to create and investigate the physics of strongly correlated matter,
    • to develop next generation atomic clocks,
    • to test quantum-electrodynamic calculations,
    • to investigate the science and technology of high intensity discharge lamps for more lighting efficiency
    • to implement a neutral atom systems for quantum information and computing,
    • to develop quantum technologies for various applications, and
    • to explore novel nanofabrication techniques using cold atoms.
  • Recent Courses
    • Introduction to College Physics
    • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I & II
    • Scientific Communication
  • Select Publications
    • U.M. Adkihari, K.D. Battles, and C.E. Simien, “Hyperfine Structure and Isotope Shift Measurements on Spin Forbidden Transitions in Atomic Gadolinium,” Optical Society of America, Optics Continuum (2019).
    • Hanxiao Huang, Bohao Li, C.E. Simien, D.O. Simien, “Viscosity and Morphology Modification of Length Sorted Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes in PIB Matrices,” Journal of Nanomaterials, 5691692 (2017).
    • R. Brown, S. Wu, J.V. Porto, C.J. Sansonetti, C.E. Simien, J.D. Gillaspy, Joseph N. Tan, S.M. Brewer, “Light polarization and quantum interference effects in unresolvable atomic lines: with application to precision measurements of the 6,7Li D lines,” Physical Review A 87 (2013):032504.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • American Physical Society
    • National Society of Black Physicists
    • Association for the Advancement of Science
    • National Science Foundation Career Award