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Saw-Wai Hla

Saw-Wai Hla, portrait
Clippinger 139, Athens Campus

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Ph.D., University of Ljubljana (1997)


Member and Director

Nanoscale & Quantum Phenomena Institute (NQPI)

Personal Profile

Saw Wai Hla is a Professor of Physics at Ohio University, and a scientist in the Nanoscience and Technology Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He has served as a director of Condensed Matter and Surface Program at Ohio University (2015-2018), and as a group leader of Electronic and Magnetic Materials and Devices Group (2011-2015) and Quantum and Energy Materials Group (2016-2019) in Argonne National Laboratory. He received B.Sc (Hons) and M.Sc in physics from Yangon University, Myanmar in 1990, 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 (1997-1998), and Freie University and Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics, Berlin, in Germany (1998-2001), Dr. Hla joined to Ohio University (OU) as a faculty of physics specializing nanoscience in 2001. In 2005, Dr. Hla was promoted to associate professor with tenure and in 2011 to full professor. Dr. Hla also has been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany (Roland Wiesendanger group, 2008-2009) and in the Department of Chemistry at the Universite Paul Sabatier in France (2010) during his sabbatical periods. After taking a joint appointment with Argonne National Laboratory, he maintains faculty appointment at OU (50%) to date. 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 USA and Europe as well as the American Physical Society, and Material Research Society, and as a proposal reviewer/panelist for National Science Foundation of USA (NSF), United States Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and European funding agencies. Dr. Hla’s research is focused on nano and quantum sciences using low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), synchrotron x-ray STM and atomic/molecular manipulation. He is a world leading researcher in the areas of STM single molecule manipulations, single molecule spintronics, and molecular machines on surfaces. He has received College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award (2006), Transformative faculty Award (2010) from OU and Sam Bader’s Award (2017) for exceptional achievement from Argonne National laboratory. He has published over 100 articles (including 10 articles in Nature Publishing Group and 1 in Science) and has given over 140 invited talks worldwide in 23 countries in 4 continents (including 4 plenary lectures in major international conferences abroad). His hobbies include skiing and hiking as well as playing guitar as he has been a professional bass guitarist once upon a time.