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Saw Wai Hla

Group Leader - Quantum and Energy Materials


  • Ph.D., University of Ljubljana
  • DICTP, Trieste
  • Dr. Saw Wai Hla leads Quantum and Energy Materials group (former Electronic and Magnetic Materials and Devices) in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory and he is also a full professor of physics at Ohio University. Dr. Hla received DICTP in condensed matter theory from ICTP, Trieste, Italy in 1993, and a PhD in experimental physics from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1997. After postdoctoral appointments at the TASC-INFM/ELETTRA synchrotron lab in Trieste, Italy, and Freie University and Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics, Berlin, in Germany, Dr. Hla joined to Ohio University (OU) as a faculty of physics in 2001. In 2005, Dr. Hla was promoted to associate professor with tenure and in 2011 to full professor. Dr. Hla also was a visiting professor in the Department of Applied Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany (Wiesendanger group) from 2008 to 2009, and in the Department of Chemistry, Universite Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France in 2010 during his sabbatical periods. Since 2011, Dr. Hla joined to the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory as a dual appointment with OU. From 2015 to 2018, Dr. Hla served as the director of Condensed Matter and Surface Science program, the oldest materials science institutions at OU, composed of 27 faculty from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Departments. Dr. Hla has also served in numerous national/international boards such as an executive committee member of the American Vacuum Society’s Magnetic Interfaces and Nanostructures Division (2006-2008), and Nanoscale Science and Technology Division (2018-2020); as a conference/session organizer of various international conferences held in US and Europe as well as the American Physical Society, and Material Research Society, and as a proposal reviewer/panelist for NSF, DOE, NIH and European funding agencies. Dr. Hla’s research is focused on atom and molecule based nanoscience using low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), spin-polarized STM, synchrotron x-ray STM and atomic/molecular manipulation. He is a leading researcher in the areas of STM single molecule manipulations, single molecule spintronics/electronics, and molecular machines on surfaces, and has given over 130 invited talks worldwide in 23 countries.