Researchers from the Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (CNRS / University of Rennes / ENSC Rennes / INSA Rennes) in France have designed a single-molecule magnets with a novel design that gives it the ability to be manipulated in the air. Published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, these results make it possible to consider the storage of information on a nanometric scale.
As the name suggests, the molecule magnet is a magnet formed of a single molecule. It has the ability to keep a magnetization independently of those of its neighbors, within the same material. It opens up avenues in the field of molecular magnetism and the storage of information on a very small scale. But the most powerful molecule magnets are mostly unstable in the presence of air and water. In collaboration with Professor Jeffrey R. Long’s team (UC Berkeley), researchers at the Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (CNRS / University of Rennes / ENSC Rennes / INSA Rennes) have designed a stronger and more resistant molecule magnet that is manipulable in the air.
For achieve this result, the scientists have come up with an original design. They first designed a molecule containing a dysprosium atom and a fluorine atom. These two atoms, associated for the first time in a molecule magnet, are maintained by an organic cage based on nitrogen and carbon. By a study mixing emission spectroscopy at very low temperature, magnetometry and theoretical calculations, they established that the very strong interaction between dysprosium and fluorine is essential for obtaining a molecule-magnet behavior: the tests performed show a magnetization still present at -265 ° C.
If an optimization of the organic cage could significantly increase this operating temperature, the chosen design has a significant advantage in terms of conditions of use: the air stability is crucial for a possible implementation of these molecular materials for the magnetic storage of information.
This work was developed as part of the Photo-SMM project (project H2020, Marie S. Curie Action) which aims to develop magnet-molecules whose magnetism could be controlled by a light source. Easier to handle and study, these air-resistant single-molecule magnets should now be adapted to allow this control. A significant step towards nanoscale memories.