The Neutron Scattering Society of America is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients for its four major prizes.
Dr. Alannah Hallas, McMaster University, is the recipient of the 2018 Prize for Outstanding Student Research of the Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA) with the citation:
“For her exploration of new families of quantum pyrochlore magnets and elucidating their phase behavior and excitations using forefront neutron scattering techniques.”
The Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA) established the Prize for Outstanding Student Research to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the general area of neutron scattering by graduate or undergraduate students who have performed much of their work at North American neutron facilities. Nominees must be either current graduate students or scientists within two years of receiving their PhD.
The nominations were reviewed by a committee of experts in the field of neutron science and the NSSA is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Prize for Outstanding Student Research is Dr. Alannah Hallas, Ph.D. from McMaster University, and currently a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University. The prize and $1000
honorarium will be awarded at the 2018 ACNS in College Park, MD, June 24-29, 2018 (http:// www.mrs.org/acns-2018).
Dr. Hallas was an exceptional Ph.D. student, jointly supervised by Profs. Chris Wiebe, Graeme Luke and Bruce Gaulin, who has been working at the boundary between materials physics and chemistry. Her research focused on forefront elastic and inelastic neutron scattering techniques applied to topical problems in exotic magnetic ground states, mainly involving geometric frustration. Her main project involved the synthesis and characterization of new pyrochlore compounds through high pressure techniques. The pyrochlore lattice is a structure type which exhibits strong magnetic frustration that often leads unconventional magnetic ground states. Alannah succeeded in preparing about a dozen new pyrochlore materials while on a visit in Japan, working almost completely independently. These materials have been investigated using neutron scattering in a series of publications, with a particular highlight being two Physical Review Letters as first author on Tb2Ge2O7 and Er2Pt2O7.
The neutron scattering work she was involved in required the use of a wide range of new forefront instrumentation for neutron scattering, primarily at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NIST, but also at the Institute Laue Langevin and the FRM II Reactor in Germany. It also included a wide range of neutron scattering applications, using both time-of-flight inelastic scattering, triple axis inelastic scattering, and sophisticated neutron diffraction, both polarized and unpolarized, from both single crystals and powder samples of topical materials –and mostly from materials which she synthesized herself.
To date she has co-authored a remarkable 25 publications in total, mostly in Phys. Rev. B and Phys. Rev. Lett., and venues of similar high impact, and a prestigious review article “Experimental Insights Into Ground State Selection in Quantum XY Pyrochlores” which is in press.
Dr. Hallas earned her B.Sc. in Chemistry and Mathematics at the University of Winnipeg, her M.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Manitoba, and her Ph.D. in Physics at McMaster University (2017). She is currently the Smalley-Curl Postdoctoral Fellow in Quantum Materials at Rice University. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, including the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Dr. Hallas was appointed to the NSSA Executive Committee as a student representative in 2017.