Group Members

Alannah Hallas - Principal Investigator 

Alannah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. She heads the Quantum Materials Design Lab, which is part of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. Before coming to UBC, Alannah completed her PhD in physics as a Vanier Scholar at McMaster University and was the Smalley Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University. Having worked in both physics and chemistry departments, Alannah is passionate about taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of quantum materials.   When she's not growing crystals or at the beam line, Alannah loves cooking (and eating!), playing bridge, and learning to sail in the waters around beautiful British Columbia.

Contact:  -  604-822-9646  

Mohamed Oudah - Research Associate

Mohamed is a research associate for the Disorder as a Design Principle Grand Challenge. Mohamed received the MEXT scholarship to pursue his PhD at Kyoto University working in the group of Yoshi Maeno. During his PhD, he discovered superconductivity in the hole-doped Antiperovskite Oxide Sr3-xSnO and studied the negative ionic state of Sn in this unusual oxide. Mohamed joined SBQMI in 2018 as a postdoc, primarily working with Doug Bonn, and he spent a part of his postdoc at Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart working with the groups of Hide Takagi and Bernhard Keimer. In the early part of his postdoc, he focused on high-pressure synthesis of new topological phases and silver containing compounds. Then his focus shifted towards identifying new topological materials related to the square-net family of compounds. As a research associate, he is working on synthesis of high entropy phases and measuring their properties. Besides research, Mohamed enjoys badminton, swimming, and eating chocolate.

Dongjoon Song - Research Associate

Dongjoon joined SBQMI in 2022 as a research associate for growing crystals of quantum materials by state-of-the-art floating zone technique. He received his PhD in physics at Yonsei university, via photoemission spectroscopy experiments on high-transition-temperature superconductors. During his postdoctoral period as a JSPS fellow at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, he carried out in-depth material growth to tailor-make the functionality of novel superconductors. Also, joining an innovative project, he explored new mixed-anion materials by using high-pressure synthesis technique. Then, he moved to Institute for Basic Science in South Korea and led a superconductivity team of center for correlated electron system. Dongjoon has marked milestones in research on cuprates, Fe-based superconductors and 4d transition-metal oxides. He also discovered Copper-Oxy-Telluride family that can be a potential platform of high-thermoelectric materials. Outside of the laboratory, he spends his time with drawing, running, traveling, and having coffee (a.k.a beer) with people.

Solveig Stubmo Aamlid - Postdoc

Solveig is an SBQMI postdoctoral fellow for the Disorder as a Design Principle Grand Challenge. Solveig received her PhD in materials science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, working on ferroelectric materials under the guidance of professor Tor Grande.  During her PhD work, she spent four months with professor Ulrich Aschauer at the University of Bern to learn more about density functional theory calculations. Solveig is interested in how disorder influences the functional properties of a material, and in the combination of computational and experimental work to study the crystal structure and thermodynamics of new phases. In her free time, she likes to be outdoors for hiking, running, or skiing, but she can also be found in the bouldering gym on a rainy day.

Samikshya Sahu - PhD Student

Samikshya joined the Hallas group as a graduate student in January 2020. Previously she received her BS-MS Dual degree in Physics as a DST-INSPIRE fellow from IISER, Bhopal, India. Her interests include working on designing and characterization of exotic phases of matter like frustrated magnetic systems. Besides physics and crystal growth, she enjoys sketching, playing tennis, occasional cooking, reading novels (mostly fictional), and traveling.

Megan Rutherford - PhD Student

Prior to joining the Hallas group in September of 2022, Megan completed her B.Sc. at The University of Winnipeg and her M.Sc. at McMaster University. Her thesis topic was the investigation of frustrated magnetism in mixed B-site pyrochlores. Her current research interests lay in the synthesis and crystal growth of novel quantum materials. In addition to research, Megan enjoys swimming and reading epic fantasy novels. 

Mario Ulises González Rivas - PhD Student

Mario joined the Hallas group in 2021 as a PhD student under a QUEST Scholarship from SBQMI. He received his B. Eng. in Nanotechnology from ITESO, and a MSc. in Materials Science from Universidad de Guadalajara, both in Mexico. For his Master’s, he worked in the relationship between the electronic and crystal structures of a rare-earth iron garnet from an experimental and computational point of view. Mario is interested in how controlled amounts of disorder in a crystal structure can lead to unexpected behavior, and enjoys crystal growth. When outside the lab, Mario enjoys playing basketball, photography, and training his dog. 

Dhruv Kush - MSc Student

Dhruv joined the Hallas Group as a Master's student in May 2022. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2021, with a degree in Engineering Physics and Mathematics. At UIUC, he worked in the Abbamonte Group, learning about momentum resolved EELS to study collective excitations of materials. For his master's thesis, Dhruv is studying magnetic order in itinerant magnetic materials using muSR techniques. One application of muSR is to help understand the pairing mechanism in high-Tc superconductors. Naturally, finding candidate materials and describing exotic superconductivity in them is also an academic interest of Dhruv's. When away from his office (a.k.a the desk next to his bed), Dhruv enjoys playing cricket, watching football, going to concerts, and making tea. 


Gargi Kodgirwar - MSc Student

Gargi joined the Hallas group as a Master’s student in October 2022 and she will be working on growth of high entropy oxide thin films. She graduated from University of Leipzig, Germany in 2022, with a bachelor’s degree in Physics. In Leipzig she worked in Plasma Engineering Group at Leibniz Institute of Surface Engineering (IOM) for her thesis and internship. Her thesis topic was “Highly Energetic Physical Vapour Deposition of Vanadium Oxide and Gold thin films”. Her research interests lie in growth and study of interesting materials (bulk and thin) with hopes of application in energy sector and/or space sector one day. In addition to research, Gargi enjoys exploring new places and activities, cooking, swimming, drinking beer (especially ASTRA and Guinness) and drinking coffee with people.

Isaac Hoffman- BSc Student

Isaac is an undergraduate student in his final year working on his Honours thesis in the Hallas group. His work aims to identify a structural phenomenon in chromium/titanium/antimony intermetallic crystals. He intends to enroll in a graduate program this fall to continue to study quantum materials. Outside of physics, he enjoys reading novels, playing tabletop role-playing games, and cooking.

Group Alumni

Graham Johnstone
Graham was the first graduate student to join in the Hallas group. He completed his MSc on high entropy oxides from 2019 - 2021 and is now a PhD Student at University of Toronto.

Dalmau Reig-i-Plessis Dalmau was a joint postdoc in the Hallas and Aronson groups from 2019 to 2022 where he studied itinerant and frustrated magnets. He wrote a review article on non-oxide pyrochlores. Dalmau is now a postdoc at ETH Zurich.  

Gurleen Sandhu
Gurleen received an NSERC USRA to work in the Hallas group during the summer of 2021 where she studied the battery material LiNiO2. She is now in the  Advanced Materials Innovative Recycling Masters Programme.

Sam Mugiraneza
Sam worked in the Hallas group from 2020 - 2021, as a co-op and thesis student. He wrote a tutorial article on the analysis of magnetic susceptibility. Sam is now a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara.

Jocelyn Baker
Jocelyn worked in the Hallas group during summer 2022 as a Quantum Pathways student. She performed the first floating zone growth of entropy stabilized oxides.