Quantum Materials Design Lab

Graduate student, post-doc, and research associate positions are available!

Joint group photo of the Hallas and Aronson groups. (L-R Mohamed Oudah, Meigan Aronson, Alannah Hallas, Jannis Maiwald, Dalmau Reig-i-Plessis, and Graham Johnstone)


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 Quantum Materials Design 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.

Recent News

January 2020: Happy New Year and welcome to our two newest group members, Samikshya Sahu, who joins us after completing her BSc-MSc at IISER Bhopal and Sam Mugiraneza, a UBC chemistry undergrad who is joining us for a co-op term. Welcome Samikshya and Sam! A busy start to the year - Alannah, Graham, and Sam traveled to College Park, Maryland to attend the Fundamentals of Quantum Materials Winter School.

November 2019: Welcome to our newest group member -- a Quantum Design MPMS3 with all the bells and whistles (helium-3, ac susceptibility, horizontal rotator, and oven)!

September 2019: We are excited to welcome Dalmau Reig-i-Plessis to the group! Dalmau recently completed his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the group of Greg MacDougall.

July 2019: Graham Johnstone joins the group as a research assistant and will begin his MSc this fall. Welcome Graham!

April 2019: Alannah presented some recent results and the plan for her high-pressure synthesis lab at the CIFAR Quantum Materials Program Meeting in Vancouver. Our work on the discovery of a new family of diluted honeycomb compounds was published in Inorganic Chemistry.

March 2019: Our discovery of Lu2Rh2O7, a material that acts a lot like a metal but is not a good conductor of electricity, was published in npj Quantum Materials! This month Alannah also traveled to the Spallation Neutron Source to perform an experiment on Corelli and attended the APS March Meeting in Boston.

January 2019: Alannah traveled to the University of Maryland in College Park to attend the Fundamentals of Quantum Materials Winter School, where she gave a lecture on crystal growth and disorder in magnetically frustrated materials. The school concluded with a one day workshop entitled Progress on Fundamentals of SmB6.

December 2018: Our comprehensive study of the Kondo lattice compound YbRh3Si7, lead by Emilia Morosan, was published in Physical Review X! A brief description of this work can be found in the press release from Rice University.

November 2018: Alannah spoke at Science in a Flash, an event hosted by Rice University's Natural Sciences Homecoming. Her talk discusses the search for new materials and how this research will enable the technologies of the future.

October 2018: Alannah enjoyed returning to TRIUMF for a week long muon spin resonance experiment on several new materials that were recently discovered in the Morosan Lab!

July 2018: Alannah gave an invited talk at the International Conference on Magnetism (ICM) in San Francisco. Highlights of the week included the plenary talk by Satoru Nakatsuji, the conference banquet at the Exploratorium, and a day trip to see redwoods in beautiful Muir forest.

June 2018: Alannah attended the American Conference on Neutron Scattering in College Park, MD to deliver her prize talk for the NSSA's Prize for Outstanding Student Research. The cherry on top was having her talk sketchnoted by Rob Dimeo, the Director of NIST's Center for Neutron Research!

Beautiful data collected on Corelli at the SNS.
Alannah with Rob Dimeo, Director of NIST's Center for Neutron Research and Sketchnote artist.