The Hallas Group at UBC
Crystal growth and scattering of quantum materials


Anyone who has visited a museum with an exhibit on minerals knows that nature can produce beautiful crystals. These crystals have many shapes (morphologies), from nearly perfect cubes (3-dimensional) to flat plates (2-dimensional) to needles (1-dimensional). However, these crystals found in nature represent only a tiny fraction of what is possible using all the ingredients on the periodic table. Furthermore, the conditions in nature are far from pristine and these naturally occurring crystals, though beautiful, often have high levels of disorder or impurities at the atomic level. In the Hallas Lab, part of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute at the University of British Columbia, we design and grow crystals of materials that are not found in nature. In particular, the Hallas Group seeks out materials with strong quantum mechanical effects, giving rise to exotic magnetic and electronic properties. We aim to understand the behaviors of these quantum materials by studying their properties with neutrons, muons, and x-rays. 

Recent News

May 2024: We are excited to welcome three new undergraduate researchers, Helena Nunez, Gannon Munro, and Ksenia Khoroshun to the lab for a summer of crystal growth. We are also excited to welcome back Valentina Mazzotti who will continue to computationally explore the stability of breathing pyrochlores.

April 2024: The group is taking a short drive down the coast to attend the MRS meeting in Seattle. Alannah is an organizer for the high entropy materials symposium, Solveig will be delivering an invited talk, and Mario will be competing for a student prize. 

Valentina Mazzotti has completed her Honours thesis and is graduating from UBC. Congratulations Valentina!

March 2024: Alannah and Brad Ramshaw (Cornell) will join Leon Balents (UCSB) as the new Co-Directors of the CIFAR Quantum Materials Program.

January 2024: A warm welcome to Ashutosh Kumar Singh, who is joining the lab after completing his PhD at JNSCAR. Ashutosh is the recipient of UBC's prestigious Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship. Welcome and congratulations Ashutosh!

December 2023:  Alannah and Dongjoon traveled to Tokyo to attend the Max Planck-UBC-UTokyo collaboration meeting and enjoyed meeting old and new friends at AIST and NIMS along the way.

The Hallas group was thrilled to give a lab tour to the new President of UBC, Prof. Benoit-Antoine Bacon and explaining the art of crystal growth.  

September 2023: Abraham Mancilla has joined the lab as an incoming MSc student from Tecnológico de Monterrey. Welcome Abraham!

August 2023: Our labs are now open for virtual tours! Please visit the Lab page to take a self-guided tour of our crystal growth and floating zone labs.

Megan, Mohamed, Joern, and Alannah had a great time in Calgary attending the NASSCC!

June 2023: In Solveig's new paper, published in Communications Materials, we combine theory and experiment to explain the stability of high entropy oxides with the α-PbO2 structure. 

May 2023: Cheers to the start of summer! We're excited to welcome undergraduates Valentina Mazzotti, Christine Trinh, Morgan Brand, and Maxim Levi  to the group for a great summer of research.

Another big milestone for the group - Samikshya has officially advanced to PhD Candidacy. Congratulations!

This month Alannah, Mohamed, and Megan attended the CIFAR Quantum Materials Meeting and Mario presented a talk at the MRS Spring Meeting.

April 2023: Alannah is honored to receive the IUPAP Early Career Scientist Prize in the field of Magnetism and UBC's Killam Teaching Prize.

March 2023: What is the role of entropy in high entropy materials? Check out our new Perspective article, published in JACS to hear our view on the topic. 

February 2023: Alannah has been named a 2023 Sloan Research Fellow!

December 2022: Mohamed, Solveig, and Dongjoon returned from a four-week stay in Stuttgart, where they visited the lab of Hide Takagi at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, exploring high-pressure synthesis of new materials. 

November 2022: Congrats to Mario and Graham for their jointly first-authored paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, our groups first work on high entropy oxides!

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