Observation, electric current control of a local spin in a single-molecule magnet

March 29, 2011 By Mikiko Tanifuji

By successfully changing the spin of a molecule, researchers have been able to perform an on/off operation for a molecular magnet. Such reversible switching paves the way for single molecule memory.

Japan Science and Technology Agency and Tohoku University announced on March 2, 2011 that Professor Tadahiro Yoneda of Tohoku University and his colleagues have succeeded in on/off operation of a single molecule magnet. Details are published in Nature Communications.

A single spin is a basic unit of magnetism and molecular is attracting attentions in which a spin state of a molecule is switched on and off by changing the . Terbium-phthalocyanine complex (TbPc2) forms a single magnet with double-decker structure in which a single Terbium (Tb) atom is sandwiched by two planar phthalocyaninato (Pc) ligands. Electric current is applied to TbPc2 adsorbed on a gold (111) surface via a scanning tunneling microscope. The dI/dV curve of the tunneling current shows a Kondo peak which appears by the presence of unpaired spin of π-orbital electron of Pc ligand. The upper Pc ligand in TbPc2 was rotated by applying controlled , leading to the disappearance and reappearance of Kondo peaks.

Theoretical analysis has shown that an angle formed by two changes the strength of the magnet. The rotation shifts the molecular frontier-orbital energies, quenching the π-electron spin. Reversible switching between two stable ligand orientations by applying a current pulse should make it possible to code information at a single-molecule level. Further development to a single molecule memory will be expected.

Explore further: Theorist helps develop first single molecule transistor

More information: Tadahiro Komeda, et al. "Observation and electric current control of a local spin in a single-molecule magnet", Nature Communications, Volume: 2, Article number: 217, doi:10.1038/ncomms1210 . Published 01 March 2011

Related Stories

Theorist helps develop first single molecule transistor

June 7, 2005

A scientist at the University of Liverpool has helped to create the world's smallest transistor - by proving that a single molecule can power electric circuits Dr Werner Hofer, from the University's Surface Science Research ...

Memory in artificial atoms

April 7, 2008

Nanophysicists have made a discovery that can change the way we store data on our computers. This means that in the future we can store data much faster, and more accurate. Their discovery has been published in the scientific ...

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

January 15, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

January 21, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Recommended for you

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes

July 28, 2015

The term "plasmons" might sound like something from the soon-to-be-released new Star Wars movie, but the effects of plasmons have been known about for centuries. Plasmons are collective oscillations of conduction electrons ...

'Expansion entropy': A new litmus test for chaos?

July 28, 2015

Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? This intriguing hypothetical scenario, commonly called "the butterfly effect," has come to embody the popular conception of a chaotic system, in which ...

Lobster-Eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions

July 28, 2015

Solar winds are known for powering dangerous space weather events near Earth, which, in turn, endangers space assets. So a large interdisciplinary group of researchers, led by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.